Carmelo Anthony(notes) still hopes to persuade the Denver Nuggets to trade him, preferably to either the Chicago Bulls or New York Knicks, an NBA source with knowledge of Anthony’s wishes told Yahoo! Sports.
The Knicks have limited assets to offer the Nuggets, which makes the Bulls a more appealing potential trade partner. The Bulls can offer a replacement small forward in Luol Deng(notes), as well as two young forwards in James Johnson(notes) and Taj Gibson(notes). New York officials would like to make a run at signing Anthony next summer if he were to opt to become a free agent. The Knicks will have salary-cap room with Eddy Curry’s(notes) contract expiring after the season.
While Anthony would prefer a trade to either the Bulls or Knicks, he knows the Nuggets could decide to send him elsewhere. Yahoo! Sports has previously reported that the Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey Nets and Houston Rockets have expressed interest in Anthony.
The Nuggets have offered Anthony a three-year, $65 million contract extension, but Anthony is reluctant to sign the deal because of concerns about the franchise’s future. Coach George Karl is returning from his second battle with cancer and entering the final year of his contract. Forward Kenyon Martin(notes) and guards J.R. Smith(notes) and Arron Afflalo(notes) will be free agents after this season and center Nene could join them if he opts out of the final year of his contract. Point guard Chauncey Billups(notes) also could hit the market because the Nuggets are obligated to pay only $3.7 million of his $14.2 million salary for 2011-12 if he’s waived at the end of the season.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the Nuggets, Anthony would like to be traded before the season starts. New Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has not had a face-to-face meeting with Anthony since he was hired on Aug. 31.