The 2011 trade that sent Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks was one of the biggest transactions of the last decade in the NBA. The Nuggets signaled that they were ready for a full re-build, while the Knicks tried to amass a talented group, capable of competing for a championship.
Anthony was obviously the centerpiece of the trade and went back to his native New York after asking to be dealt, despite making the Western Conference Finals just a few years prior. However, he revealed just this week that he never really wanted to leave Denver.
Here’s what Anthony had to say about his Nuggets departure on the “All The Smoke” podcast:
“Contrary to what anybody an every believes, I never wanted to leave Denver. I never told people that. But I never wanted to leave Denver. But it’s like they put my back against the wall.
We go to the Western Conference Finals in 09. What are you supposed to do? You’re supposed to build on that. You’re supposed to add pieces, plug and play, don’t mess the core up.
They got rid of Dahntay Jones. On that team, Dahntay was a key piece on that team. Get rid of Dahntay Jones. They’re like, “We ain’t re-signing Chauncey. We’re about to trade J.R.” K-Mart – contracts is up, and the lockout’s coming?
So, I’m not about to rebuild. I’m not going to rebuild after we done went to the Western Conference Finals. We’re supposed to be building, not rebuilding. And I went to them. I’m like, “I don’t want to go, but if y’all going to rebuild, it’s time for me to go somewhere else.”
Carmelo Anthony: I didn’t want to leave Nuggets https://t.co/Likv59ONNL
— Dan Feldman (@DanFeldmanNBA) August 26, 2021
In fairness to the Nuggets, Anthony did confirm that he asked out out Denver back in 2011. Clearly, he wasn’t happy with what the team planned to do and he didn’t want to stick around for a re-build.
The move to the Knicks didn’t help Anthony win a title and since then, he’s been desperately searching for somewhere else to win a championship. He spent time with the Thunder, a year with the Rockets and two seasons with the Trail Blazers in Portland but hasn’t made it back to a Conference finals since his run with the Nuggets in 2009.
Anthony is in a good position to change his luck this upcoming year with the Los Angeles Lakers. After the team’s busy offseason, the 37-year-old will join LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and a host of savvy veterans determined to win a second title in three years.
If the Lakers can pull it off, Anthony will be able to hoist the first Larry O’Brien Trophy of his career.
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