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Evilmav2
06-30-2003, 07:39 AM
Melo's drawing power
Nuggets' top pick might double as free-agent magnet
http://mas.scripps.com/DRMN/2003/06/27/s7nu-nuggets_d.jpg

By Chris Tomasson, Rocky Mountain News
June 28, 2003

Denver Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe believes Carmelo Anthony has the "star quality" necessary to attract free agents.

With that in mind, less than 24 hours after Anthony was drafted by the Nuggets with the No. 3 pick, one of the star free agents this summer was even more excited about the prospect of moving to Denver.

"I know Carmelo," Los Angeles Clippers swingman Corey Maggette said Friday. "He's an up-

and-coming superstar. With him going there, a lot of (free agents) are going to want to go (to Denver)."

Including Maggette, who becomes a restricted free agent Tuesday. He said the Nuggets "definitely" are the top team on his list. And he said teammates Michael Olowokandi, who will become an unrestricted free agent, and Elton Brand, who will be restricted, also "would enjoy going to Denver."

So many free agents. Just so much money.

The Nuggets this summer will be about $18 million underneath the salary cap, which could be more than any other team in the league. But the Nuggets, who can start negotiating with players Tuesday and start signing them July 16, can't get everybody on their wish list.

With the draft out of the way, Vandeweghe said team officials will meet this weekend to go over their options. They'll decide which free agents they want to immediately go after with the most gusto.

"We have to address our backcourt first," Vandeweghe said. "As for center, Nene (Hilario, who might be better suited for power forward) can play there now, but that is second option."

One important topic of discussion will be how to handle going after restricted as opposed to unrestricted free agents. With Olowokandi being unrestricted, he is free to jump on any offer immediately. And although Golden State point guard Gilbert Arenas is restricted, he would be easier to sign than the typical restricted free agent.

The Warriors still would have 15 days to match any offer. But, because Golden State will be over the cap and Arenas has played two years, rather than three, the Warriors cannot exceed the midlevel exception of $4.6 million to sign him.

But restricted free agents such as Maggette, Brand, and forward Lamar Odom and guard Andre Miller - they are two Clippers who are less likely to choose the Nuggets - pose a dilemma. If the Clippers took their allotted 15 days and matched a Denver offer, then the Nuggets would run the risk of losing a player while their money is tied up.

"That's a consideration," Vandeweghe said. "You would want to make sure that it's a solid offer. You wouldn't want to lowball someone."

It's generally assumed that the Clippers wouldn't match a high offer for Maggette. While not giving details, Maggette said he wants a "long-term deal" and believes he can "get more" than the midlevel exception for the first year.

That doesn't initially sound unreasonable. Maggette is only 22 but has played four years. Last season, he averaged 16.8 points and received votes for Most Improved Player.

"My first option is to look at Denver," Maggette said. "The main reason is because of Kiki. I respect him. I've gone to his summer camps (a few years ago in the Los Angeles area). They're trying to establish something as a team and an organization, and I'd love to be part of it."

Apparently, so would Brand and Olowokandi. Maggette said he regularly has talked to Brand about how they "would love to be teammates in Denver."

Maggette has had fewer conversations about that subject with Olowokandi but said he knows the center is "interested" in the Nuggets. And agent Bill Duffy, who represents Anthony and Olowokandi, said the Nuggets are "very high" on the center's list.

"He has a lot of respect for Kiki and (Nuggets assistant general manager) Jeff Weltman, who was on the Clippers staff when he was drafted (in 1998)," said Duffy, who named Miami, San Antonio and Utah as suitors for Olowokandi. "It's a great opportunity (with the Nuggets). He'd be a great fit."

Duffy also expects the Nuggets to have conversations with Minnesota center Rasho Nesterovic and San Antonio point guard Speedy Claxton, two other unrestricted free agents he represents. But he admits they're not as familiar with the Nuggets as Olowokandi, who has friends in Denver and who went to dinner last summer with Vandeweghe and other team officials.

"Within the next few weeks, we can drastically improve our basketball team," Nuggets head coach Jeff Bzdelik said.

Forgive the Nuggets for getting giddy. ESPN reported Thursday that the top free-

agent prize this summer, New Jersey point guard Jason Kidd, is considering Denver, although the Nuggets were said to be a "long shot."

But don't tell that to Vandeweghe. He said the Nuggets, despite having tied for the worst record in the NBA last season at 17-65, won't shy from trying to land the top free agents.

"We're going after it, like we do everything," Vandeweghe said. "We're not going to be afraid to go after all the big free agents and take a swing at it. I think we've got a great situation. We've got the greatest fans in the world. We've got a great facility."

With that in mind, don't be surprised to see the Nuggets put in a call to Indiana forward Jermaine O'Neal, considered the second-best free agent available. And there will be plenty of calls to Arenas, named Most Improved Player after averaging 18.3 points and 6.3 assists.

Arenas' father, Gilbert Arenas Sr., told the Rocky Mountain News in April that his son "probably" would end up with the Nuggets. But it's not a slam dunk.

The Warriors, who did not draft a point guard Thursday when many believed that they might, will do everything they can to sign Arenas to a short-

term deal, with thoughts that he will cash in down the road.

"He's the No. 1 priority, and there is no one who is 1-A or 1-B," Warriors general manager Garry St. Jean said. "He's the man. We're going to do everything we can to have him back."

Maggette is good friends with Arenas. In recent conversations, Arenas told Maggette he "wouldn't mind" going back to Golden State. But Maggette indicated Denver's money situation would be "enticing" to Arenas.

It figures to be enticing for a lot of players. The only teams with enough money to sign another's team's free agent to a maximum contract ($10 million or more) will be the Nuggets, San Antonio, Utah and the Clippers. And the Clippers, who rarely sign their own stars, certainly aren't going to be looking at outside top-dollar players.

"There are three things that free agents look at," said Mike Fratello, a TNT analyst and former NBA head coach. "First, there is the money. Then, players want to win. Then, they look at climate, environment and location. Denver has the money. It's a nice spot."

Fratello said it remains to be seen how close the Nuggets are to winning. They haven't made the playoffs since 1995.

With no recent banners to show to prospective free agents, Nuggets officials will do their best to show off the city. Players will be brought in during July on visits similar to those for college recruits.

"We'll show them what a great city Denver is," Vande- weghe said.

No doubt, the Nuggets also will make Anthony available. Anthony became the most well-

known player in college basketball after helping lead Syracuse University to the national title as a freshman and winning Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors.

"I think he does," said Vande- weghe, when asked if Anthony's presence will help lure free agents. "A lot of free agents were in the NCAA Tournament, just like I was. I lost in the finals. They know how hard it is to get there. They know what MVP of the tournament means."

Perhaps Brand and Maggette, who played at Duke, and Arenas, who played at Arizona, know most about what it means. All were on the losing side in an NCAA title game.

Drbio
06-30-2003, 08:15 AM
Melo showing props to Alex English with that old school jersey is nice to see!


This kid is going to be special. He is likely going to make Detroit fans moan for years to come.

Hitman
06-30-2003, 11:11 AM
Originally posted by: Drbio
Melo showing props to Alex English with that old school jersey is nice to see!


This kid is going to be special. He is likely going to make Detroit fans moan for years to come.

Not sure why everyone who has never seen Darko play believe that Carmelo will be the better player. Carmelo will probably be an all star, but he does not have the athletism of Kobe or TMac, doesn't have the explosiveness of Marbury or Francis, doesn't have the shot or size of Nowitzki or Peja, doesn't have the all around package of KG.. He is a 6 foot 8 small forward with a decent all aroud game. Sure he led Syracuse to the national championship, but people are really overblowing that. There are tons of guys that lead their team to the National Championship that never became NBA starters.

I see him as a Glenn Robinson/ Danny Manning type. And I certainly don't see Detroit fans moaning for Melo when their guy is 7 foot 1, can shoot it from all over the court and plays with a ferocity never seen from a European.

There is a reason they too Darko #2 -- Joe Dumars is a tremendous judge of talent.

Mandyahl
06-30-2003, 12:59 PM
you're right, i have no idea how good a player darko is, but he does sound good. carmelo doesn't impress me all that much, and i am interested to see how good he can be at the nba level.

Drbio
06-30-2003, 02:21 PM
Hitman- I've seen limited play on Darko but I have seen Carmelo play a lot. The kid will be an instant star in this league. Darko, like many big men will probably need to put a couple of years under his belt before he figures out how much banging he can do down low, etc. Big guys seem to always take a few years if they pan out at all. I see Darko as an athletic player too, but Carmelo will in all likelihood give instant results. Just my 2 cents.

Hitman
06-30-2003, 04:15 PM
Originally posted by: Drbio
Hitman- I've seen limited play on Darko but I have seen Carmelo play a lot. The kid will be an instant star in this league. Darko, like many big men will probably need to put a couple of years under his belt before he figures out how much banging he can do down low, etc. Big guys seem to always take a few years if they pan out at all. I see Darko as an athletic player too, but Carmelo will in all likelihood give instant results. Just my 2 cents.


By saying that you think that Carmelo will make Piston fans "groan" then it seems like you are insinuating that Carmelo is going to be the better player. Do you think that?
Just wondering...what about Carmelo gives you the impression that he will be an "instant star?" Because honestly, there is nothing truly unique or awe inspiring about his game. All the true "stars" in this league, from Dirk to TMac to Kobe to Shaq to Duncan to Kidd all have that "something," that thing that seperates them, whether it is size, athleticism, shooting or passing. Carmelo is not "awe inspiring" in any of these areas.

My analysis of Milicic is very limited -- I have seen tapes, I have seen clips and I have read endless scouting reports from the top scouts in the world. And I have seen enough of Carmelo Anthony to realize that he is a very good player--but he does not that superstar "something" that will make him a top 5 player. From all indications, Darko Milicic has that "something." Many people, including Rick Majerus, Tony Ronzone, Chad Ford believe that with all the tools that Darko possesses - his 7 foot 1 height, his wingspan, his shooting, his ball handling and his abolute killer instinct that is a result of his growing up in an area ten times scarier than any "hood"-- he will wind up being better than LeBron.

As far as "instant results" well...Darko and Carmelo are seperated by 1 year. Darko has been playing professionally for three years now against the highest level of competition in Europe. He has thrived despite the fact that his team never ran plays for him and rarely looked to get him the ball. It is that way in Europe--they don't give 17 year old kids reverance or respect. But despite all these obstacles, Darko shined anyway. He is going to be just what Detroit needs next year. They are adding a hybrid of Garnett and Nowitzki -- a guy who has been playing professionally against men for several years. Lots of people are talking about the ROY race next year, talking about LeBron and Carmelo. I am betting that the Pistons win 60 games in the East and the kid from Yugoslavia is a big part of it -- that would be enough for Rookie of the Year in my book.

Hitman

Drbio
06-30-2003, 09:00 PM
Because in my opinion, Carmelo's play will make Detroit fans wish they had taken him. Darko just doesn't strike me as a guy who will dominate or even be a top 10 guy in his position. The big guys in the NBA need seasoning. Yes, I did consider his euro play. Sorry, but the best euro play is not equal to even the best summer league play imho. I've seen too many euro guys struggle in summer league games to show me otherwise. They are good...damn good mind you...not a euro bashing at all. The NBA is just the best the world has to offer. Darko will not be an immediate all star. Carmelo has a shot to be.

Hitman
06-30-2003, 09:36 PM
Originally posted by: Drbio
Because in my opinion, Carmelo's play will make Detroit fans wish they had taken him. Darko just doesn't strike me as a guy who will dominate or even be a top 10 guy in his position. The big guys in the NBA need seasoning. Yes, I did consider his euro play. Sorry, but the best euro play is not equal to even the best summer league play imho. I've seen too many euro guys struggle in summer league games to show me otherwise. They are good...damn good mind you...not a euro bashing at all. The NBA is just the best the world has to offer. Darko will not be an immediate all star. Carmelo has a shot to be.

What about your limited information on Darko suggests to you that he will not be an immediate all star? Is it the 7 foot 1 wingspan, the shooting touch, the unheard of athleticism for a big man, the rave reviews of Joe Dumars, Chad Ford, Tony Ronzone, Will Robinson, Rick Majerus and just about everyone who has seen him play. The guy is a freak, in the very best sense of the word.

I don't understand how you can possibly say that Darko "doesn't strike you" as a top 10 "guy" when you have barely seen him play. What are you basing that on? ESPN motion clips? Or the rave reviews of every scout who has come within 10 feet of him?

The big guys in the NBA need seasong? Sure they do. Dirk needed a year. KG needed a few months. Gasol needed a few days. Which of these guys does Darko remind you of? Granted Darko is 18 years old, but Carmelo is 19 -- and Darko has been playing professionally for several years and has thrived despite playing for coaches who refused to run plays for him because of his age.

McGrady, who has physical tools that Carmelo can only dream of, needed four years to reach his potential.

Not sure what you mean by the "big guys need seasoning" statement.



"the best euro play is not equal to even the best summer league play"

Sorry Doc, but if you truly believe this than you really have no idea what you are talking about. The European leagues are infinitely better than the summer leagues. It is not even close. If you ever emailed that statement to a Chad Ford or a Mark Stein or anyone in the media that knows global hoops they would laugh at you.



"Darko will not be an immediate all star. Carmelo has a shot to be."

Again, you have seen a lot of Carmelo -- what about him suggests that he will be better than Danny Manning or Glenn Robinson? Neither one of those guys was a franchise talent and both took four years of college and a few years in the NBA to become stars -- not superstars, but journeyman stars who never won shite. Both were college MEGA stars better than Carmelo, but their games resemble Carmelos on many levels. About 6'8"-6'9", good shooter, decent ball handler, decent but not excellent back to the basket game, not explosive, Danny Manning was a better passer and rebounder than either Carmelo or Big Dog...I mean, I could go on.

There are tons of guys like this in the league like that.... Rip Hamilton is right about this level. But Rip Hamilton is nobody's franchise talent. Darko Milicic is a FRANCHISE talent. He has the skill, the size, the shooting, the athleticism and the intagibles that make a superstar. Carmelo will a top 25 player in this league, but Darko is going to be a top 5.

Bet the house on it.



Hitman

David
06-30-2003, 09:38 PM
I think Anthony has star written all over him. I've only seen Darko play on the one or two clips that they've shown on TV. However, Dumars played in the league a long time and has seen a lot of the best play in the NBA. I believe, Dumars worked both of them out and he chose Darko. He must have done something to impress Dumars because he didn't seem to waver after he saw Darko work out.

mavsfanforever
06-30-2003, 09:52 PM
Originally posted by: David
I think Anthony has star written all over him. I've only seen Darko play on the one or two clips that they've shown on TV. However, Dumars played in the league a long time and has seen a lot of the best play in the NBA. I believe, Dumars worked both of them out and he chose Darko. He must have done something to impress Dumars because he didn't seem to waver after he saw Darko work out.


We are yet to see if firing Rick carlisle was a good move by Dumars.