Carmelo Anthony Trade Rumors: Is He Close To Leaving Denver Nuggets?

Anthony BarattaContributor IFebruary 9, 2011

Carmelo Anthony is a top player in the NBA.... Would the Nuggets actually trade him?
Carmelo Anthony is a top player in the NBA.... Would the Nuggets actually trade him?Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The NBA season is reaching its climax.  The playoff picture is beginning to take shape and teams are falling out of the race, or fighting to stay alive for another day.  Teams like the Lakers, Celtics and Heat barring a monumental collapse all figure to be in the playoffs at season's end.  However, there are still teams out there doing their best to stay in the playoff hunt. 

With the trade deadline just over a week away, GMs are on the phone checking to see who is available.  One name that seems to have been available all season is Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets.  The Nuggets are hanging on to the seventh spot in the Western Conference, so it seems silly that they’d trade their best player.

Nevertheless, Carmelo is asking for a three-year deal and somewhere around $65 million, which may be more than the Nuggets can afford or are willing to pay, even for a player like Anthony.  However, after the LeBron James saga this offseason it seemed inevitable the spotlight would fall on Anthony and where he decided to play in 2011-2012.

Those headlines came earlier than expected this year. 

There were rumors that he was headed to the Nets in a three-team trade.  A trade that would have involved 11 players (including ‘Melo) was shot down after the Nets backed away last month.

Now the question is where will Carmelo go? 

The Knicks have emerged as a favorite to land the services of Anthony.  Carmelo is from New York so it seems almost poetic that he would land with his hometown club.  He was a star at Syracuse, and many people in New York State absolutely adore him.  He would also give New York a solid 1-2 punch, complementing Amar'e Stoudemire. 

Acquiring Carmelo would be a huge boost for the Knicks.  They are in good position right now to get to the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons.  However, their Carmelo quest may have a little bit of competition.

Even though the Knicks are heavy favorites to land Carmelo, a few more teams have entered the sweepstakes.  One of the biggest teams making a move for Carmelo is the Los Angeles Lakers.  Recent news had them in discussions with the Nuggets for Carmelo, however, reports have surfaced that the Lakers shot down these rumors almost as quickly as they began. 

Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has confirmed the Lakers stance on a possible Carmelo trade: “I haven't even entertained it,” Jackson stated.  Andrew Bynum, one of the players said to be on the move for Carmelo, said that "it's just another rumor as far as I'm concerned...I think they would [contact me] if it was more than a rumor...No one's really said anything." 

A trade for Carmelo would almost seem like overkill for the Lakers.  They already have Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and Pau Gasol (amongst others) manning their lineup so even without Carmelo they are in good shape to repeat as NBA champions. 

As the trade deadline nears, Carmelo’s future remains a mystery.  Will he end up in New York?  Will the Lakers actually engage the talks?  Will another team come in and scoop up Carmelo?  All these questions will be answered by next week.  Right now it looks like Carmelo will stay with the Nuggets until season's end.