Denver Nuggets executive Josh Kroenke met with Carmelo Anthony(notes) in Baltimore over the weekend and restarted the process of selling the disgruntled star on signing a contract extension, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
No resolutions were reached, sources said, but Kroenke, the owner’s son, has undoubtedly emerged as a far more powerful voice in the franchise. His burden is unmistakable now: As a 30-year-old on the cusp of taking over majority ownership of the Nuggets, he must sell the All-Star forward on staying the course with the Nuggets.
The Nuggets are close to hiring a new general manager – with former Phoenix Suns executive David Griffin the frontrunner – but Kroenke and adviser Bret Bearup will have the most significant say in basketball matters.
Anthony has hesitated to sign a three-year, $65 million extension and expressed intrigue with opting out of his contract next summer to become a free agent. Despite significant speculation the New York Knicks are the team that Anthony would most likely want to join, two sources close to him insisted the Knicks have been overstated as an object of his desire. Privately, Anthony has expressed more enthusiasm over joining the Houston Rockets than the Knicks, sources said.
Anthony still believes he can get the maximum possible money from re-signing with the Nuggets now, sources said, with his sights on engineering a trade to a preferred destination later. For him to opt out of his contract at the end of next season would be an immense risk. With league owners determined to shorten the years and lessen the money on max contracts in the next collective bargaining agreement, Anthony and his representatives know they could cost themselves tens of millions of guaranteed dollars.
The departure of vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien has elevated Kroenke to a more prominent role in the Nuggets organization – one that likely will eventually include majority ownership. Well before the Nuggets didn’t renew Warkentien’s contract this summer, sources said Kroenke made a springtime tour to meet several of the most prominent West Coast player agents. The agents were told they would soon be dealing more directly with Kroenke on Nuggets personnel matters.