It is the biggest sports story in Denver and has been ever since the thrill of the Broncos drafting Tim Tebow wore off. ESPN seemingly runs new speculation about it daily, and made it the biggest non Brett Favre saga in years. I am talking of course about the soap opera of the Nuggets attempting to trade Carmelo Anthony.
As a member of the sports media industry, I have grown weary of our endless pursuit of speculation. With twitter and the immediacy of sports news available 24/7, the importance of reporting a story first seems to have overtaken the value of the news and importance of fact. For 6 months now, ESPN and several Colorado media outlets have produced countless stories about where Melo might go. First, he might be dealt to the Knicks, then a possible deal with the Nets. Then it was a three team deal. The Bulls have been mentioned several times and now the Lakers have been rumored to be involved in Melo trade talks. Remember the days when sports journalism was based on the facts and done deals?
Most recently, after months of drama about where Denver’s all star forward will end up, Anthony said he would consider possibly thinking about maybe having a chance of signing an extension with the Nuggets when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Sports has always been filled with drama, but do sports journalists need to make where Carmelo Anthony will play in 2011-2012 the soap opera saga of the 2010-2011 season?
In journalism classes, they preach fact checking and delaying stories until the full facts have been obtained. However, now it seems that crediting a single source makes a story journalistically acceptable. As opposed to discussing the impact of an injury to a key player like Sidney Crosby and covering NHL stories, sports fans are bombarded by news of Brett Favre throwing to high schoolers and LeBron James tweeting smack talk to the lowly Cavaliers.
At this point, speculation about Brett Favre returning and where Melo might go irritates more people than it intrigues. These stories are like beating a dead horse or like beating the Cavs, (whichever is easier). For the past few years, the nation has assumed Favre would return and that Melo would be dealt. The country does not need days and days of stories that do not provide any actual facts or details about the trade unless it is a done deal.
More importantly, the speculation of a possibly Melo deal has overshadowed the fantastic season the Nuggets are having. They have the second best home record in the Western Conference, so give the city of Denver a story on why the crowd at the Pepsi Center helps the Nuggets. The Nuggets have been terrible on the road at just 9-16. Where is the story on the Nuggets road woes? Tell me why can’t they perform away from the Pepsi Center. Tell me what Nene does to lead the league in shooting percentage each season and if scores so efficiently, why doesn’t he get more shots? Tell Colorado about the mentor and student relationship between Chauncy Billups and Ty Lawson. Tell me why George Karl’s offense leads the league in scoring, or give me an update on his health and his battle with cancer. All of these stories ideas would more readable than daily gossip about a Melo deal.
The daily columns have all talked about the best possible destinations for Carmelo and why the Nuggets need to trade the player that revived a cellar dwelling franchise. Few have mentioned how well Anthony has continued to play. He has averaged 25 points per game and 7.7 boards each night. Halfway through the month of February, Anthony has averaged nearly 33 points per game. Many have assumed that this increase is attributed to him wanting to audition for possible bidders, either this or next season, but I have not heard Carmelo say what is clicking in his game right now. He has focused his attention on the games the Nuggets are playing, why can’t the media do the same thing?