Before the Dwightmare, there was the Melodrama. And one night after Dwight Howard made his return to Orlando, Carmelo Anthony will be making his first appearance in Denver since being dealt to the New York Knicks in 2011.
There were certainly plenty of similarities between the Howard and Anthony dramas, as both players essentially forced their way to a destination of their choice. Anthony was never as flip-floppy as Howard, but both situations featured daily rumors that were nothing but a distraction.
One such rumor involving Anthony was that his wife LaLa was a big reason why he wanted to become a Knick so badly. Anthony denied that in an interview with Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, explaining that one of his biggest reasons for wanting out was the direction the Nuggets were headed in.
"People didn't really know the business side of the situation we were in," Anthony said. "Everybody's contract was up. They had plans of going younger. People from the outside looking in didn't really get it."
Following the 2010-11 season, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Marcus Camby and possibly Chauncey Billups were going to be free agents that were likely to go elsewhere. With Denver planning to go younger, Anthony decided that he did not want to be a part of a rebuilding process. So he pushed for a trade to New York to avoid a rebuild and to also take advantage of the major marketing opportunities in the city.
Nuggets first-year general manager Masai Ujiri also had the option of sending Anthony to the Nets, but he preferred the Knicks' offer of more proven players. In return for Anthony, the Nuggets received Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Kosta Koufos, Timofey Mozgov and Raymond Felton, who has since joined Anthony in New York.
The trade has worked out pretty well for both sides. While neither team has gotten out of the first round of the playoffs since the deal, the Knicks and Nuggets are both in excellent shape this year. New York is currently second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 38-23, while Denver is fifth in the Western Conference with a sterling mark of 43-22.
The Nuggets have won nine games in a row and are 28-3 at home on the season, and the Pepsi Center crowd is sure to give Anthony an earful. In addition to the hostile crowd, Anthony will also be dealing with a knee issue that has been bugging him. Anthony will try and block all that out and put forth a performance like Howard did in Orlando, where the big man scored 39 points and pulled down 16 rebounds.