JR Smith says Carmelo Anthony is his ‘all-time favorite person’ | For The Win
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Cancer, interim coach, and who the heck is running the team?
Carmelo Anthony reacts to J.R. Smith’s unforgettable shirtless celebration
George Karl managed to coach the Nuggets another 10 games after the All Star break before chemo made it impossible to coach. He left with the Nuggets holding a record. When Karl finally left the sidelines, assistant coach Adrian Dantley took over indefinitely.
The Nuggets finished out the regular season with a disappointing record, in the games Dantley was coach. In the final 10 games, the Nuggets scoring average dipped dramatically as players stopped playing together and each possession became isolation Melo or isolation J.
Any semblance of the team basketball they were playing was through. So the Nuggets ended up tumbling from the second seed in the West to the fourth, tied with their division nemesis Utah. The overall vibe heading into that first round series with Utah was much different from the year previous.
Carmelo and the year where it all changed
A heavy air hung over Pepsi Center as the team tried to pull itself back together after losing their head coach to cancer treatment and the increasing realization that they were not playing the same way they were before.
The team lost to the Jazz in six games. It was a depressing and distressing end to what began as an amazing season. The offseason would go quiet for about two months while radio hosts speculated across the country about Melo maybe shifting his gaze toward the East Coast where he grew up.
Behind the scenes, Anthony had a huge decision to make. No one knew if George Karl would return to the bench. The Nuggets had spent the last two trade deadlines sitting on their hands. It never went used. Melo wondered if they were serious about improving the team. It turned out to be a chaotic summer beyond just the Carmelo Anthony speculation.
Things calmed down a bit until Mark Kiszla dropped a bombshell in late June Kiszla reported that the Nuggets could trade Melo if he resisted signing the extension they offered in order to not have the same fate befall them that happened when they let Dikembe Mutombo walk away for nothing in From that moment until February oflife was not the same for anyone. With a looming NBA Lockout on the horizon, decisions needed to be made.
If I can live in Denver, I can live anywhere. I just want him to be happy. There was so much going on, and it got increasingly complicated as the summer wore on.
A new regime, new approach, and a decision made With a new extension sitting on the table for Melo, the Nuggets front office went through a gigantic makeover. Stan Kroenke began the process of handing over operational control of the Nuggets to his son Josh. Before that became official, the elder Kroenke let the contracts of Nuggets Vice Presidents Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman lapse, ending the regime they managed since One can only imagine Melo looking at all of this — coupled with the looming labor strife within the NBA — and wondering what the hell was going on.
Melo interpreted this as the team tanking around him while he was the box office draw. For example that is what the Rockies did with Todd Helton. They had plans of going younger. Masai saw the expiring contracts of Kenyon Martin and J. Smith as elements the Nuggets needed to work around to remain competitive for the future.
A mere seven months after his cancer diagnosis and extremely aggressive chemotherapy, George Karl was back on the Nuggets bench.
Nearly miraculous considering the hell he went through to get the cancer addressed. When Karl returned, the future of the Nuggets as an organization was up in the air. What remained, however, was his poor relationship with his star player. Now, with it looking increasingly like Melo would leave, the Nuggets went into the season with rumor after rumor after rumor hanging over their heads.
The first three months of the season had been in anguish as the Nuggets worked to extract the best deal they could possibly get from the Knicks.Carmelo Anthony & JR Smith Full Highlights 2012.12.25 at Lakers - JR With 25, Melo With 34!
Their hope was, for all intents and purposes, that Denver set the standard for star player trades in doing so. The truth was, Melo decided before the season that he wanted to be traded to the New York Knicks.
One can speculate about the factors in his reasoning for getting specifically to New York, but that is where he wanted to go. Remarkably, the Nuggets finished with a record of that season; maybe the best coaching job George Karl had ever done in his career, all things considered.
But as the two prepare for their 31st head-to-head meeting in the NBA — the first since Anthony joined the Thunder in September — one thing has remained constant. Anthony and James still share a bond, and people still ask if they can be real friends and cutthroat competitors. We've always heard that.
J.R. Smith 'likes' a picture of Carmelo Anthony in a Cavaliers uniform
A decade and a half later, nobody has. During the season and outside of it, Anthony and James remain in contact. They text about plays the other has made and talk about bigger, more important matters of family and career. When Anthony's time with the New York Knicks soured for good over the summer, he gave the team a list of destinations for which he'd waive his no-trade clause. The Cavaliers were on the list, but the two discussed other potential destinations, too. Anthony's teams are head-to-head against James' in the NBA, and Anthony has been excited to play his friend every time, from that first meeting in New Jersey, which Oak Hill won Back when Melo met Bron, there was no Twitter and no Facebook.
The two knew each other's reputations, but they weren't acquainted until James introduced himself to Anthony in that Trenton hotel almost 15 years ago. They talked deep into the night, and the friendship grew from there.