Knicks improve offer for Anthony

The New York Knicks have improved their offer to land Carmelo Anthony(notes), proposing a deal that could give the Denver Nuggets three potential starters for their All-Star forward, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Knicks offered a choice of forward Danilo Gallinari(notes) or rookie guard Landry Fields(notes) on Friday, and Denver officials preferred Gallinari, a source with knowledge of the talks said. The proposed deal would send Gallinari, point guard Raymond Felton(notes), forward Wilson Chandler(notes), Eddy Curry's(notes) expiring contract and a first-round pick to the Nuggets for Anthony, point guard Chauncey Billups(notes), Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams.

The Knicks have been reluctant to give up Gallinari, but now appear willing to do so after the Nuggets assembled the framework of a blockbuster trade with the New Jersey Nets in recent days. One league source confirmed a New York Daily News report that Knicks owner Jim Dolan had met with Anthony in Los Angeles.

Dolan "is doing everything he can to get him," the source said.

The Knicks would need to acquire a first-round pick to send to the Nuggets, but could likely do so by trading forward Anthony Randolph.

"They feel they want me," Anthony said of the Knicks Friday night after the rookie game.

The Nets' offer would send rookie forward Derrick Favors(notes), point guard Devin Harris(notes), guard Ben Uzoh(notes), the expiring contract of Troy Murphy(notes) and four first-round picks for Anthony, Billups, Melvin Ely(notes), Renaldo Balkman(notes) and Shelden Williams(notes). The Nuggets would then try to trade Murphy and one or two of the draft picks to a third team.

The Nets' offer has always been contingent on Anthony agreeing to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension with them. Anthony said on Friday he was unaware of any plans to meet with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, but wouldn't comment later that evening when asked again about a possible meeting. A source close to Anthony said the forward has never shown much, if any, interest privately in joining the Nets.

A New York native, Anthony has always preferred a trade to the Knicks. He turned down the Nuggets' extension offer in the summer and said on Friday that he hasn't spoken with team officials since "November or December" about possibly staying with the team.

"As far as building – which the Nuggets are trying to obviously do in their near future – they’re trying to start all over and build up – and don’t try to flip it on me – but New York already has something there," Anthony said. "I think the city is looking forward to bringing back great basketball and they’re looking forward to that. So if that’s my destination then that’s something that I can bring to that city."

Anthony would team with All-Star forward Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) as the centerpieces of the Knicks' rebuilding efforts. Stoudemire said on Friday that he thinks Dolan wants Anthony.

“A combination of us two would be great,” Stoudemire said. “It would definitely uplift the city and the economy and New York.”

Anthony also said he has no interest in becoming a short-team rental player for a team with which he's not willing to sign an extension. The Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks had previously expressed interest in trading for Anthony without a commitment from him to stay.

“Unless they’re trying to get car services and want to rent a car, I really don’t want to have to be a rental," Anthony said. "I don’t feel like I’m a rental player. I don’t want to go somewhere and be a rental for two months and then have to deal with this all over again. I don’t want to go there."

Anthony said last week that he hadn't ruled out staying with the Nuggets. But he's also made clear that his concerns about the franchise's future haven't been addressed. Billups, Nene, Kenyon Martin and guards J.R. Smith and Arron Afflalo all could be gone before next season and coach George Karl also doesn't have a new contract.

"They have to do what’s best for them and their organization, too," Anthony said. "So at the end of the day, they can say, ‘Forget it, we have to take care of our organization, 'Melo. He did what he had to do here for eight years, but we have to do what we have to do, too.' "

Anthony has clearly tired of the season-long speculation that has surrounded his uncertain future and hopes the Nuggets can resolve his situation by the end of All-Star weekend.

“My mind’s boggled right now about this whole situation,” Anthony said. “I wish I could get this thing over with right now and I wish there was just something that was just on the table that the Nuggets could just say, ‘OK, let’s get it done.’ "