Setting aside, for a moment, Carmelo Anthony's tacit veto power over any trade made before February, can the Sixers put together a decent package for him? Let's take a look after the jump.
According to Chad Ford, the Nets are probably the frontrunner in the Melo sweepstakes. His theory is that the combination of a young piece (Derrick Favors) and expiring contracts (Troy Murphy) is exactly what Denver is looking for.
While that package does have a certain appeal, can't the Sixers do better? How about this deal? If you're too lazy to click on the link, I don't blame you. The deal would be Turner, Thad, Green, Kapono and Speights to Denver for Melo. Worst-case, two young pieces and $13M in expiring contracts. You'd think that would be more appealing than Favors and Murphy, unless Denver is going to somehow try to spin this trade as a move for the present, which they shouldn't.
I'd assume Evan Turner's value is higher than Derrick Favors' considering neither has played an NBA game yet and 28/30 GMs apparently had Turner ahead of Favors on their draft boards. This deal would give Denver Turner for the entirety of his rookie contract, and beyond. Two years to get Speights' head screwed on straight before he's due an extension, and they'd even have a chance to take a one-year look at Thad Young. Willie and Kapono could be cut immediately, or packaged for another deadline deal. The Sixers would be left with Jrue, Iguodala and Melo to build around, which basically is the best-case scenario of building around Jrue, Turner and Iguodala. They get the legit #1 scoring option to pair with Iguodala and Jrue's all around games. They still have Brand's deal, but when that comes off the books they could have only Jrue, Iguodala and Melo under contract for about $41M. Meaning if they played their cards right (and the CBA cooperated), they could add another max player to the roster, then fill out the roster with veterans and exceptions. (Jrue, Iguodala, Melo and Dwight Howard?)
We're talking about another shortcut here, obviously. And another big gamble, but if this opportunity is on the table, I'd do it. What do they really have to lose?
TK76 has brought up similar trade scenarios in the comments several times, and he's definitely on to something. When you look at what the "experts" are saying is the best package out there, the Sixers can definitely do a bit better, in my opinion. Of course, that thing we ignored at the beginning of this post is a major issue. Melo would have to agree to extend here in Philly for this to even be a conversation, and that would probably be a pretty tough sell. I'm still 100% against trading Iguodala for Melo unless the Sixers get something else of value in return. The difference between the two talent-wise isn't worth the difference between the two money-wise and we'd wind up paying more for pretty much the same level team.