The closer Carmelo Anthony gets to becoming a Knick, the more resistance the Denver Nuggets are showing. After the Nets pulled out of trade talks for Anthony -- mainly because he made it clear he's not interested in signing a contract extension with them -- the Nuggets reached out to several teams around the NBA to attempt to generate interest in a deal before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. But the entire league at this point is aware that Anthony's first choice is New York, so there hasn't been much interest.
A report by ESPN.com on Tuesday morning said the Lakers were in preliminary discussions with the Nuggets about a trade for Anthony that would likely send center Andrew Bynum to Denver. A person with knowledge of the situation said Carmelo-Bynum talks actually took place last summer and nothing materialized beyond the initial discussion. The Daily News reported that Lakers executive Jim Buss, son of team owner Jerry Buss who feels strongly about Bynum's potential, rejected such a proposal. The Los Angeles Times posted a story on its website that cited a Lakers source calling the original ESPN report "inaccurate."
The Knicks have had talks with the Nuggets regarding Anthony, with a reported offer involving the Timberwolves that would send Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph to the Timberwolves, Wilson Chandler and Minnesota's first round pick and Corey Brewer to Denver. This is a markedly low return for the Nuggets for their four-time all-star forward, who recorded the second 50-point performance of his career Monday night in a loss to the Rockets.
The Nets offer, which also involved a third team, the Pistons, included three first-round picks and rookie power forward Derrick Favors. But the Knicks offer provides for Denver something that, sources say, is very appealing to owner Stan Kroenke: immediate cash savings, with Curry's expiring salary, and Randolph's $2.9 million salary next season, going to the Timberwolves.
Still, there is little doubt that the Nuggets want the Knicks to improve their offer and using the Lakers as a threat is one way to do it. The Knicks feel if Anthony will only sign an extension with them, then the Nuggets only have two options: accept their offer or hold onto Anthony through the trade deadline and risk losing him for nothing in free agency.