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Nuggets soften the hard line, are suddenly more open to the idea of dealing Carmelo Anthony

Sep 20, 2010, 3:26 AM EDT

carmelo_anthony_denver_nuggets.jpgOh, what an intricate web the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors have woven. Melo has been linked to a dozen NBA teams, several book clubs, and at least one amateur magicians’ alliance since his desire to be traded became public, but the Nuggets’ willingness to play along with Anthony’s whimsy has been anything but concrete.

Obviously Denver would prefer to hang on to their best player, but if Masai Ujiri and the rest of the Nuggets’ brass consider Melo’s departure to be an inevitability rather than a mere possibility, it makes sense that they would at least take stock of their star’s value on the open market.

A report from’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford suggests that Ujiri is doing just that, and that the Nuggets are bracing for impact rather than taking evasive action:

The Nuggets still aren’t aggressively shopping Anthony and haven’t withdrawn their longstanding offer of a contract extension, but numerous sources told that Denver officials have in recent days let other teams know for the first time that they will listen to pitches after previously resisting such discussions. “I’m not sure how soon, but I do think they’re going to trade him [between now and February],” said one rival GM.

Said another source briefed on Denver’s plans: “There’s no doubt they are working on it. Eventually they’re going to pull the trigger. “

…Although Anthony has not made any such declarations publicly, it appears that Nuggets management is growing increasingly resigned to the fact that they won’t be able to change their franchise player’s mind.

Stein and Ford also suggest that Ujiri’s recent hiring to the Nuggets front office hasn’t had much of an impact on the team’s ability to sway Anthony, or even to arrange a sit-down meeting between the two parties. That’s not a pleasant sign for the home team, particularly since getting Anthony to agree to their proposed extension is likely the only way for Denver to get out of this in one piece. Otherwise, the Nuggets are likely looking at some kind of lesser returns in exchange for Carmelo, and their trade options are seriously limited by Anthony’s own preferences.

As has been explained previously: Melo may not have a no-trade clause, but he does have some power here. He wants the Nuggets to trade him, and now, it looks like they may just fulfill that wish. However, with just one year left on his deal, most suitors aren’t going to swing away without a general agreement for Anthony to commit over the long-term.

The Nuggets may have opened up the phones, but they’re not just going to hand out Carmelo to caller #10. They still have to filter through which teams Anthony accepts, which teams are financial fits, which teams provide a market conducive to growing La La Vazquez’s career, which teams are actually willing to invest in Anthony prior to the new CBA, and oh, which teams actually have the pieces to make a deal worthwhile for Denver. The Nuggets’ softer stance may remove one obstacle, but there are still all kinds of complications in the way of consummating a deal for Carmelo Anthony.  

  1. Omegaq - Sep 20, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    We aren’t trading their best player, we still have Chauncey. We don’t need Melo and if doesn’t want to be here, we don’t want him either. We have a deep bench, and I am sure there are guys in the D league that are hungry to play in the NBA and will shine under Coach Karl’s system.
    So long you no defense playing prima donna.

  2. robert embry - Sep 20, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    who cares. let the arrogant, self centered jerk go. he is not worth the six billion dollars the nuggets offered him. he will fit in with the other flakes in new york!!! good riddance!

  3. JA - Sep 20, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    You can’t seriously think Billups is a better player than Anthony. You’re going to get a d-league player to step right in and replace him? He is the best player Denver has EVER had. I have been a fan of his since the end of his high school career/year he went to Syracuse. Without him, Denver returns to the cellar of the West. Without him, they can kiss any respectable attendance number good bye. Your comments are nothing but hard feelings. You should be happy he stayed in Denver for as long as he did. I wish he would have left after his first contract expired. He stuck around thinking Denver might make a move and get some additional talent around, instead year after year they trade their draft picks for aging former decent players on their way out of the log. I have been a Knicks fan since I can remember but haven’t watched a Knicks game in years because they are so horrible. I hope he comes to NY where he will be appreciated. GO SYRACUSE!

  4. rawlo - Sep 20, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Your right JA I’m a nuggets fan and Carmelo has to be one of the best nuggets of all time. Chauncy is good but he is not going to draw the double team like carmelo and toss in 35 points a night. If it was that easy to pull a d league player to work in Coach Karls system then we would be champs by now. So I have know idea what Omegaq is talking about. If Carmelo goes to the knicks they might get to the first round of the playoffs and thats it. It will be the nuggets of the east. I blame this whole Carmelo SH!# on the front office. They should have went after Boozer and he would have stayed a nugget. Now its back to the same old nuggets once Carmelo leaves. And to Omegaq if your a real fan you remember how the nuggets used to be before Carmelo. Cheap seats and a bunch of losses. No games on TNT or ESPN. So long dental plan!!!

  5. tjstyles - Sep 20, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Chauncey Billups is a fantastic player and one of my favorites (impeccable attitude and work-ethic), but to compare him today to Carmelo Anthony is pretty silly. In his prime, Chauncey would have been in the discussion, even though his individual numbers weren’t as good as Melo’s, he is so good at managing the game and getting the right person the ball at the right time. Denver losing Melo is as devastating as Cleveland losing LeBron.
    Usually I am on the player’s side with these things, and I am still more on Melo’s side than Denver’s. But, unlike Cleveland, Denver made some huge moves to put talent next to Melo. The trade for Chauncey is one of the most lopsided trades in recent memory, and was huge for the Nuggets. Nene is a pretty darn good center. They just made a move for Al Harrington. I am not a huge fan of Harrington, but a twinkie is an upgrade to Kenyon Martin.
    Melo is likely headed to the Nets. It is the only team that both Melo and the Nuggets have listed as options, and it is close enough to NYC for La La to advance her career (especially when they move to Brooklyn in a couple of years). Too bad Melo got married, cause he would have worked well next to Rubio and Love in Minnesota. Course, I am sure the Nuggets would have wanted Love back in the trade, but that is beside the point.

  6. john - Sep 20, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    I’m a nuggets fan and I’d love for melo to stay. but if melo wants to leave then trade him before the season starts. I think houston has some good players to offer. Kevin Martin averages a solid 20 points per game, shane battier is a good defender, jordan hill is a young 6.10 player who can help while nuggets bigs rehab from injury. houston also has new york’s draft picks that we can use. we should not waste time to keep melo when he wants out and not sign his generous extension offer.

  7. miles - Sep 25, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    true they would have a good squad but Nene gets hurt too much although Denver’s backcourt is solid with biilups, lawson, afflalo, and smith. As a knicks fan I was hoping that the knicks would make bid for him or see if he makes it to free agency. If he does go to the nets that be devastating but i mean its justhim and brook lopez because devin harris would get dealt to the bobcats

  8. miles - Sep 25, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    shane battier retired b/c he got injured too much

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