Carmelo, Nuggets Nearing Extension
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the Denver star and the Nuggets are in advanced stages of positive discussions about a contract extension that would keep Anthony off the 2011 free agent market and in the Mile High City through 2015.
The three-year extension would be for a combined total of approximately $65 million, although it could not be executed until after the league's moratorium is lifted on July 8. Anthony is believed to be leaning toward accepting the offer, thereby avoiding the uncertainty that comes with the possibility of a lockout in 2011.
With player salaries expected to be cut in the new collective bargaining agreement, the seven-year veteran who would still earn $17.1 million next season and $18.5 million in 2011-12, risks losing in the neighborhood of $30 million on an eventual maximum contract offer based on early projections of a new CBA . As Anthony is well aware, that new reality could become more real as soon as next month when, according to sources, there will be an owner's meeting during the Vegas Summer League and the doomsday tone will almost certainly reach a new high.
Yet if Anthony does indeed decide to stay with the only team he has known, his new deal would likely be grandfathered into the new collective bargaining agreement and he would be immune to the challenges ahead. Anthony's agent, Leon Rose, has met with Denver vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien numerous times in the last month.
What's more, sources say Warkentien spent June 11 to June 14 at the NBA Developmental League National Tryout in Chantilly, Va. It was a curious move considering the timing (in the heat of draft season), except that it just so happened to put him in the region of Anthony and his Baltimore, Md. hometown. Neither Rose nor Warkentien returned calls for comment.
The pitch to Anthony has emphasized the upside of signing a contract now and the downside of free agency, with the negative backlash surrounding James' spotlight saturation perhaps convincing Anthony to stay "home" and become even more beloved in his current locale. Meanwhile, the irony of the Anthony courting is that the player's future is closer to being secured while the executive's is certainly not.
Warkentien has no contract for next season, and -- as first reported by the Denver Post -- the 2008-09 Executive of the Year has requested permission from the Nuggets to speak with other teams. He has yet to receive the permission, according to sources. The focus of that potential job search is the vacancy in Phoenix, where Steve Kerr stepped down on June 15.
Warkentien, who has not received a contract offer and is already one of the lowest paid top-tier executives in the league, has deep personal ties to the area. His daughters attend Arizona State and the University of Arizona, and most of his wife's family lives in the area.
If Portland general manager Kevin Pritchard is fired as expected after the draft, Warkentien -- a former Blazers executive who spends much of the year living in his home in the City of Roses -- is expected to pursue that position. The same goes for any potential opening with the Clippers, whose general manager, Neil Olshey, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Warkentien in Denver for months.