Much of the focus on Carmelo Anthony’s trade prospects has centered on whether Anthony would sign a contract extension to play wherever he was sent.
But what if a contending team was willing to trade for him without caring about an extension? That is apparently happening (well, that or it’s a negotiating tactic).
Sources told the Denver Post that a couple of unnamed contending teams have contacted the Nuggets about a deal where they would “rent” Anthony for the rest of the season. Trade for him for this playoff run with no intention of signing him to an extension, then let him become a free agent.
The Knicks really, really like this idea.
An interesting question is what teams reached out to the Nuggets? As the Post points out, Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban has said he would consider such a trade depending on what the Nuggets wanted in return. Another possibility might be the Chicago Bulls, a team that Anthony apparently had on his short list but that trade hung up when the Bulls refused to include Joakim Noah in the deal (and that certainly has not changed).
Frankly, there are only so many contending teams. Hard to see the Lakers or Celtics making huge roster moves, and the Heat have no large contracts they’ll give up or young players of interest to the Nuggets. Not a lot of choices left.
Note that this rumor comes out of Denver — if you were the Denver Nuggets and were trying to get Anthony to agree to sign an extension with the Nets, and he was refusing demanding the Knicks only, what kind of leverage could you create? Well, you could leak rumors about being contacted by teams that have no interest in giving him the extension. Threaten him with a move where he would have to risk signing a new contract under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement being hammered out. Whatever that turns out to be it likely means less money for new deals. Does Anthony want to go to New York so badly he’s willing to risk a big pay cut?