Carmelo Anthony was one of the best superstars of the 2000s, known for his prolific scoring prowess and the ability to create shots in isolation from the midrange area. He was notably drafted by the Denver Nuggets where he had a solid tenure featuring a Western Conference Finals appearance. However eventually, he left for the New York Knicks, getting traded there during the 2010-11 season.
While he may have left mixed feelings within the Denver Nuggets fanbase with his departure to New York, it seems as though the team may have forced Carmelo Anthony's hand. On a recent episode of the All The Smoke podcast, Carmelo Anthony revealed that the team put his "back against the wall" and mentioned that the big reason he left was that the Nuggets' got rid of key players from their '09 Conference Finals run. It looked as though they were going to follow through with a rebuild, and Carmelo Anthony didn't want to stick around. (34:46)
Contrary to what anyone believes, I never wanted to leave Denver. I never told people that, but I never wanted to leave Denver. But they put my back against the wall.
You go to the Western Conference Finals in ’09, what are you supposed to do? You’re supposed to build on that. You’re supposed to add people.
They got rid of Dahntay Jones. On that team, Dahntay was a key piece on that team. They’re like, we ain’t re-signing Chauncey [Billups]. We’re about to trade J.R. [Smith], K-Mart’s (Kenyon Martin) contract was up and the lockout’s coming? So, I’m not about to rebuild after we went to the Western Conference Finals.
I don’t want to go, but if y’all going to rebuild, it’s time for me to go somewhere else.
Although he ended up leaving the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony is still one of the best players to ever put on a Denver Nuggets jersey. The team made the playoffs every single year that he was with them. While Anthony may not have ever wanted to leave the Denver Nuggets, it seems as though he felt that going through a rebuild was a far worse option than joining the New York Knicks.