Nuggets now open to trade offers for superstar Carmelo Anthony
Is this goodbye?
The Nuggets are "open to offers" to trade superstar Carmelo Anthony, an NBA source said Monday, though indications are the team is more in the listening stage than looking to make an immediate move.
The consensus across the league is that the Nuggets will trade Anthony to New Jersey, New York, Chicago or one of the two Los Angeles teams, another NBA front-office source said, with New Jersey having the most to offer. The Nets have expiring contracts, numerous future first-round draft picks and 19-year-old rookie post player Derrick Favors, who was the No. 3 pick in the June draft. But the source also pointed out there are plenty of obstacles to trading a superstar — Denver is familiar with this process, having traded for guards Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups in recent years — and it's possible the Nuggets might need to have a third team involved to make the block-buster deal work.
While Anthony has not publicly demanded a trade, he has not made any move to accept the Nuggets' offer of a three-year, $65 million contract extension that has been on the table since June. He will be a free agent next summer unless he signs an extension. The Nuggets are determined not to let him hit free agency without getting something in return.
Masai Ujiri, the Nuggets' director of basketball operations, said in his introductory news conference weeks ago that he would try to convince Anthony to re-sign with Denver. It's not yet clear Ujiri has even met with Melo. Ujiri did not return calls seeking comment Monday, nor did Anthony or his representatives.
If the Nuggets are to trade Anthony, it's understood he needs to be a part of the discussions for both sides to get what they want. The Nuggets will get what they want only if he signs a multiyear extension first; otherwise, teams would be wary of trading valued players or draft picks simply to rent a player for one season in the hope of being able to sign him to a long-term contract.
Anthony's wife, reality television star La La Vazquez, is from New York City and previously told a New York Daily News entertainment reporter that "New York is a possibility." League sources have previously said that she desires to be in a major market.
It is unclear what the Nuggets' timetable is for pulling the trigger on a trade. Training camp begins Monday with the team's annual media day. If the Nuggets don't trade Melo, they risk losing him for nothing. That happened to Cleveland (LeBron James) and Toronto (Chris Bosh) this summer.
Ujiri knows this feeling all too well. He was part of the Raptors' front office.
Billups, an Anthony confidant, and Nuggets coach George Karl have expressed hope in recent days that they can convince Melo to re-sign with Denver — a team that, with or without Anthony, is well over the NBA's luxury tax threshold and will likely have some new faces on the roster a year from now because of expiring contracts.
Karl is also in the last year of his contract.
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