Nuggets to Observe Carmelo Anthony With Full Cast; Nets Not Ideal Destination
Don't expect any team to get a Christmas wish and find Carmelo Anthony under its tree. That's because the Denver Nuggets are entering the next phase in their last-ditch effort to try to keep Anthony.
The Nuggets are close to having their full roster intact for the first time this season. And a source said Monday night that Denver has no desire to trade Anthony until it can be seen how the team looks with a full cast.
Forward Kenyon Martin, who has yet to play this season following offseason knee surgery, could return as soon as Wednesday at San Antonio or Saturday at Oklahoma City. And both guard Chauncey Billups, who has been out the past three games with a wrist injury, and center Chris Andersen, out since Dec. 3 with a back injury, are expected back for the San Antonio game.
The Nuggets are 16-10 despite those injuries this season. Before team officials pull any trigger and deal Anthony, they want to see what his mindset would be and how the Nuggets will look when they have a full cast.
Anthony has yet to sign a three-year, $64.47 million extension and could become a free agent next summer. The source said Anthony and Nuggets executives have yet to discuss any specific teams regarding where he might or might not want to be traded.
However, another source said Monday night that Anthony does not want to sign a contract extension with New Jersey, the team with the best trade assets to land him. And that source does not believe Anthony can be convinced to sign such an extension with New Jersey if the Nuggets were to agree to deal him there by the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
As trade fodder, the Nets have in their stable five first-round draft picks over the next two years, a young prospect in Derrick Favors and an expiring contract in Troy Murphy. Obviously, the Nets would be much more willing to pay a top price for Anthony if they knew he would sign the extension and they wouldn't be risking losing him this summer for nothing.
The second source reiterated the common belief that Anthony's top desire remains to go to New York. Yet, the Knicks don't have the trade assets the Nets do.
But don't expect anything to happen imminently. The Nuggets are getting players back from injury and want to see how Anthony feels about playing with a full cast and how the team does.
Come January, after a new lay of the land is observed, it might be time for the next phase of the Anthony saga.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson