The Knicks are very interested in trading for Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks are very interested in trading for Carmelo Anthony. Credit: Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The Knicks enter the new season the same way they ended the previous one: in the hunt for a superstar. But are they pursuing Carmelo Anthony with the same intensity as they did LeBron James?

One NBA source with close knowledge of the situation, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said last night, "I don't think they're being as aggressive as they should."

The Knicks were in contact with the Nuggets in the last few weeks about Anthony, who is attempting to force a trade by not signing a three-year, $65-million extension with Denver. The Nuggets made it clear the Knicks had nothing to interest them in a trade.

"It's really a moot point," said a separate source with knowledge of the discussions.

Donnie Walsh, who on Wednesday met with reporters to discuss the 2010-11 season, acknowledged that he is always going to inquire when a star player is on the block. "Part of my job is to look out there and see if a deal can be made to get a player like that," he said.

The Nuggets are believed to be looking for a young, talented big man and multiple first-round picks and come out of the deal with significant payroll savings for this season. The Knicks are about $1 million under the $58-million salary cap, so they can't take on extra salary. All they can do is agree to offer the standard $3 million in cash considerations, which would be a given in any deal, the source said.

There are no untouchables on the Knicks' roster, perhaps outside of Amar'e Stoudemire, when it comes to making a deal for Anthony. Although Denver may not be interested in a young talent such as Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks could try to find a third team who may take Gallinari and meet Denver's needs with their own player and / or picks. So far, however, they haven't.

Anthony has told confidants that the Knicks are his top choice; he could opt-out after this season and sign with the Knicks as a free agent. The Chicago Bulls are reportedly No. 2 on his list.

The source said the Nuggets are looking to trade Anthony before the regular season begins on Oct. 26, if not sooner, to avoid the unwanted LeBron-type media circus that is sure to follow once training camp opens. The trade options, however, are limited because Anthony has to agree to sign an extension as part of a trade that also has value to the Nuggets.

Notes & quotes: Eddy Curry is the only player who hasn't shown up at the training center for informal pre-camp workouts. Players are not contractually obligated to arrive until media day, which is Friday. Walsh said he expects Curry to arrive Thursday . . . Kelenna Azubuike (patella tear) will not be ready for the start of camp.

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