I gotta say that it's annoying me to hear people constantly refer to Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony as the big fish of next year's free agency. I'm going to skip any detailed look at Durant, because he would be the most awesome pickup for Washington ever but he's restricted and we ain't gonna get him.
Now on to Melo. I really have zero positive impressions of this guy. He blames everything on someone else, he's not a closer, and his claim to fame is the "Stop Snitchin" video. He's from Baltimore, but so what?
Let's look at the positives: He won an NCAA Championship, he's an all-star, and he ranks in the Top 3 in the league in scoring.
But let's look at his character issues. Rip Hamilton won an NCAA Championship because he's a winner. Melo is a great talent, but a knucklehead.
Here's the Wikipedia entry on his negative stories:
Since entering the NBA, Anthony has been the subject of numerous controversies. In 2004, he was cited for marijuana possession, after inspectors at Denver International Airport found marijuana in his backpack. Charges were later dropped after Anthony’s friend, James Cunningham, of St. Louis, signed an affidavit taking responsibility for the marijuana. That same year, Anthony appeared in a video entitled, Stop Snitchin', which warned that residents of Baltimore who collaborated with the police would face violence. Anthony later distanced himself from this video. In 2006, Anthony’s friend, Tyler Brandon Smith, was pulled over in Anthony’s vehicle and cited for marijuana possession and three traffic violations. Later that year, he was involved in the infamous Knicks–Nuggets brawl during a game at Madison Square Garden. He was suspended 15 games as a result.
On April 14, 2008, Anthony was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, after being pulled over on southbound Interstate 25 at 20th Street in Denver for weaving through lanes and not dimming his lights. Police spokesperson Detective Sharon Hahn said Anthony, who was alone in the car, failed a series of sobriety tests. He was ticketed and then released at police headquarters to a "sober responsible party." A court date was set for May 14. The Nuggets suspended Anthony for two games due to the arrest. On June 24, 2008, Anthony pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while ability-impaired. The original sentence of driving while under the influence was dropped, and he was subsequently sentenced to one year of probation, 24 hours of community service and US$1,000 in court costs and fines.
But it was really his comments as Denver imploded in the playoffs that caught my attention. After Game 4 against Utah, he said "... at the end of the day, I need some help. I'm not sitting here pointing fingers or nothing. As a unit, we've got to do this together. I can't do this by myself."
Not a huge bomb, but he came off as whiny and full of himself and he said it in the middle of a series. It was the kiss of death for the Nuggets.
Am I wrong about Melo? Maybe, but then I look at the unrestricted list for 2011, and it has nowhere near the talent of this year's summer sweepstakes, with LeBron, Wade, Stoudamire, Bosh, Johnson, and Lee (and Nowitski). If we are rebuilding, why not focus on a few lower-tier free agents this summer, and do the same next year while still getting draft picks?
Here's a list of free agents this year in the second tier I would try to get at a decent price (with full understanding that these guys might not want to come to D.C.:
Couldn't two of these guys help us rebuild?