As you no doubt have heard about now, Carmelo Anthony wants out of Denver, and according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnorowski, its a matter of when and not if Denver acquiesces to his demand. It is in fact, in their best interest to do so, as the most they're likely to get in a sign and trade this summer would be a trade exception, while a trade now could land them young talent and picks, which is exactly what they reportedly want in turn.
The Kings are not mentioned among the potential teams that could be involved. This could be for a few reasons: Carmelo is not interested in coming to Sacramento, Sacramento is not interested in acquiring Carmelo, or the media doesn't think Sacramento would be an attractive destination. Two other teams in the Pacific Division are mentioned as possible trade partners (Clippers and Warriors). Both, like the Kings, have plenty of young talent that could entice Denver. But the Kings are also the most under the salary cap, meaning they can take back much more money than they send out. Other teams mentioned as possible destinations include New Jersey and Houston, both with ample young talent and draft picks in Houston's case.
So its obvious to me that the Kings fit the criteria of Denver's supposed demands. But is Carmelo Anthony someone the Kings should try to get?
First off, we have to look at the type of player Carmelo is. Much like Tyreke Evans, Carmelo is a scorer. A damn good one too, having never averaged less than 20.8 PPG, and being in the Top 5 in points per game in 3 of the last 4 years. How does he get these points? According to Hoopdata.com, most of Carmelo's shot attempts come from around the rim, followed by 16-23 feet (the most inefficient shot in basketball). He also typically averages about 2.5 three point shots a game, despite historically never being a good three point shooter (career 30.8%). He's also extremely adept at getting to the line averaging almost 8 free throw attempts per game for his career and knocking them down at a nice 80.1%.
Also like Tyreke, Carmelo is ball dominant, even more so than Tyreke (26.2% Usage Rate), with a career Usage Rate of 31.1%. Usage Rate is the estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor (where he either scored, assisted, or turned it over, etc.) That's a lot of possessions. With both of them on the court, and DeMarcus as well, there are not going to be a lot of touches for the other players.
For all his bright spots on offense however, his defense is somewhat lacking. Although Denver performed 4.6 points per 100 possessions better on offense with him on the floor, they also gave up 1.1 pp100 on defense with him on. It's a net positive, obviously, but you can't really rely on Melo to be a defensive stopper (the reason he's not a superstar in my opinion).
Now if the Kings decided that Carmelo was the answer for them, how much would it cost them? It would probably cost them a couple of their young prospects not named Tyreke or DeMarcus, as well as an Expiring like Carl Landry or Samuel Dalembert, and possibly a combination of draft picks as well as taking back contracts in order to lower Denver's cap figure. Right now Denver is over the luxury tax, and if they're not going to have Anthony, they're probably going to opt for a full rebuild, which means getting as far below the luxury tax as possible. The Kings can really help here due to their cap space.
One thing that would have to be absolutely guaranteed in any trade for Anthony would be an extension. Most reports are saying he wants a 3 year max extension with the team that he is traded to. Now obviously, if he doesn't want to go to a certain team, he doesn't have to sign the extension, and that team (in this case the Kings) is now stranded without their assets, as well as no Carmelo after his 1 year term of duty is up.
How much better would the Kings be with Anthony? Well its hard to quantify that in terms of wins, but I think its safe to say that they would be better, and probably instant playoff contenders (different from championship contenders, much different). It'd be extremely hard for teams to guard two elite scorers in Tyreke and Carmelo, and if DeMarcus came along as well, it'd simply be too much for some teams. But would a team featuring those three be good enough to contend for a title?
I'll be honest, I came into this article fully planning to support a Kings attempt to get Anthony. But looking at the evidence doesn't leave me too excited at the prospect of him in a Kings uniform, although I'm not entirely against it. What do you think?