Carmelo Anthony says he never requested trade from Denver

Feb 14, 2024, 11:20 AM | Updated: 11:36 am

Carmelo Anthony is a podcaster now and the thing that keeps coming back up was one of the biggest stories in basketball of the 2010s, the trade that sent him from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks.

It’s widely known that the 10-time NBA All-Star left the Mile High City in a sour fashion after requesting a trade. In the last few weeks, the top 75 player of all-time has talked ill of the Nuggets a bunch and has again brought up the controversy of his No. 15 not only not being retired in Denver but being worn by Nikola Jokic. The things Melo has done recently have only further strained his relationship with fans in Denver. Even his retirement from the game seemed to undercut the Nuggets as he announced it the same day Denver clinched its first-ever trip to the NBA Finals thanks to a sweep of the Lakers—something Anthony never did.

While many Nuggets fans want to see Melo treated with respect and be welcomed back into Ball Arena, what Anthony continues to do isn’t helping. On Wednesday, he was on Dwyane Wade’s The Why Podcast, and Anthony fibbed about his Denver exit. Melo claims he never requested a trade away from Colorado, something everyone knows is a lie. Former Nuggets coach Geroge Karl even tweeted as much on Tuesday when he saw the clip for the upcoming show.

Melo said in the show something he has said in the past, which is that Denver letting Dahntay Jones walk to the Pacers for $2.5 million is what set him off. And then Anthony contradicted himself and essentially spilled that he did request a trade, first claiming it was to anywhere, then later in the interview talking about the places he would not play.

Here’s the full clip and quote:

“New York was never the place though, people think I went in there and was like ‘get me out of here to Denver.’ That was never the case. The case was, I see what is happening—08 we’re building, 09 we take a step and go to the conference finals. Now we understand where we are at compared to the champs, compared to the Lakers and Spurs. Now we have a taste of that. Me, personally I was like, I could get it but we gotta get there. I knew I was going to get it. If we change two plays, we win that series. So I just needed the team to get there. Let’s not play around with Dallas, let’s dominate New Orelnos, let’s show them we’re serious. This is our time to trump the Lakers. The next year, in my mind, we analyze the series and we plug and play, put this person here and we might lose somebody here. We didn’t need to reinvent anything, we were two pieces away. You trade Dahntay Jones who at that point was a pivotal piece for our team, you get rid of him. I told them, he would take less, just give him another 750. Give it to him, they let him walk away to go over there for a million dollars more. I’m going this is my chance to go to the Finals. I knew if we beat the Lakers we would’ve swept Orlando that year, that’s real talk. We beating Orlando, we would’ve beat them. We catching conglomerates, we’re catching the best teams ever. This is my time to be part of it then they get rid of a major piece because they want to get younger. So I’m going to play this season but y’all gotta show me what you’re going to do.

I’m not going to rebuild I just got a taste of the conference finals, I’m not going to rebuild. I have like two years left on a deal and they’re going to make me rebuild. So here’s the play, I’m not rebuilding, I’m hearing rumors they’re going to amnesty Chauncey (Billups), y’all going to send Jr (Smith) and Nene to Chicago for somebody, they wanted Joakim. It took me six years to get to that point and now they want me to start over? I don’t know what they’re thing was but I’m not rebuilding and I’m not saying I’m trying to get out of here but they gotta show me the cards and their cards was we want you to stay. And y’all playing with me. I said it in June, I went to a baseball game at Oriole Stadium. We had a good time and we talked like men and we figured it out and we understood where we were at and we were going to make it happen. Here are the teams, Chicago, the deal was done with the Lakers—me and Nene for Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum—I never thought about New York. When they turned that deal down, now it’s like they didn’t want me in the west, send me to the east—get me to New York. The deal was never with New York it was with the New Jersey Nets. The deal was with the Nets and George Karl had a deal with Utah behind the scenes for Derrick Favors, he thought that was a power forward that was a Nene type. So he wanted him to be the next Nene.

I ended up in New York and that deal wasn’t supposed to happen. We need another hour to tell that specific story. But the deal happened, I’m in the house and the Nuggets make a trade with the Nets on the TV. Denver’s saying they’re not going to send you where you want to go and I was fine to stay in LA. But I’m not going to Jersey and that’s when the Brooklyn stuff was going to happen. So if they were in Brooklyn next year, I would’ve been there. I wasn’t going to play in the Prudential Center, can’t do that. Then the New York thing happened.”

YouTube video

There are a few things that really stand out from Anthony’s side including a wild trade that would’ve sent him to the Lakers and another where the Nuggets almost scored future DPOY Joakim Noah. Rumors have circulated for years that at Anthony’s wedding the summer before he was traded, that he and the Kroenkes beefed over roster construction. Based on Melo’s account things came to a head with ownership at an Orioles game. Eventually, all of this culminated with an All-Star Weekend trade while Anthony was representing the Nuggets in Los Angeles. The internet is old enough to remember all of his drama, providing a pretty accurate account of who knew what and when. Anthony’s recalling of these stories a decade later has been spotty but nonetheless interesting. Though it is believable that Melo would’ve been upset if the Kroenkes weren’t building up the team and trying to make a run back at the Lakers after getting to the conference finals in 2009.

Melo may have also wanted to go to Chicago when he left Denver. He admitted in the interview that he felt like he was going to retire in New York as soon as he was traded but later on, Chicago showed him love in free agency in the mid 2010s. When Melo was dealt from Denver, rumors were everywhere that the Bulls would like to pair him with Derrick Rose. Melo, however, was a Jordan athlete and Rose was Adidas’ marquee player—something that created an issue in the trade proceedings.

Wade is from Chicago and ended up playing for the Bulls at the tail-end of his career. However, Wade probably should’ve been a Nuggets star. He came out with Anthony and LeBron James in the famed 2003 draft class, and had the Pistons taken Anthony like they were expected to instead of Darko Milicic, Wade likely would’ve ended up in Denver.

“I love Denver Melo; I was 19 coming into an organization and city that was like here, help,” Anthony said on Wade’s podcast. “They only won 16 games the year before, and I understood that. But I never thought it was going to be Denver, I thought it was going to be Detroit.”

Melo was traded in 2011 with Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman for Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks 2014 first-round draft pick, the Warriors’ 2012 second-round pick (obtained from previous trade,) the Warriors’ 2013 second-round pick (obtained from previous trade and $3 million in cash. Denver used one of those picks to select Jamal Murray.


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