When Chris Paul announced at Carmelo Anthony's wedding that the two should join forces in New York in 2011, the rumors started swirling.
The next rendition of an NBA superstar trio would not be that far off, but Paul tried to speed up the process next week by demanding a trade from New Orleans.
He announced his top three as Orlando, New York and Los Angeles. While we are still waiting to see his next destination, if the Hornets decide to comply with his demands, the next domino in this crazy offseason seems to be Anthony.
LeBron, Wade and Bosh all joined forces after "The Decision," and 'Melo would be the fourth player from the top five of the 2003 Draft to make a move, assuming he follows suit.
So, if Melo follows the same path as LeBron and Paul, what are his options? Here are five paths he could take.
Anthony technically has two years left on his contract, but he can opt-out after this season.
The Nuggets have added Al Harrington to provide firepower off the bench.
George Karl may be back on the bench full-time after focusing on his battle with cancer this offseason.
With Karl out and three of Denver's bigs injured or hobbled (Nene, Kenyon Martin, and Chris Anderson) against Utah in the first round, the Nuggets didn't get to make a full-fledged push in the playoffs.
Anthony could opt to play out this season and hope the roster reaches its full potential for a real playoff push this season. The team could knock on the Finals door like they did two years ago.
If the Nuggets go deep, he could opt in for one more season or sign an extension. Or, if he doesn't like the outcome, he could opt-out and see what options are out there for him. That would include joining Paul in New York, depending on where Paul ends up this offseason, or sign with another contender.
This move also allows for a trading deadline move, if Anthony doesn't like the direction the Nuggets are heading at the halfway mark.
The Nuggets have put a three-year $65 million extension on the table for Anthony, so he could choose to ink the deal now and try to lead Denver to a championship in the next few seasons.
If he doesn't sign the extension, he could leave himself in limbo with the impending lockout next season. So, it might be wise to secure his future now, rather than rolling the dice.
Also, it's not like the Nuggets are a slouch. As mentioned in the previous slide, they were not at full strength in last year's playoffs. The previous season, they battled the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Anthony may have a good thing going here and not want to leave. Signing a contract extension would also remove the huge distraction of his potential impending free agency. That would allow the Nuggets to focus on the task at hand.
If Anthony and Paul are serious about teaming up, Anthony could follow suit and demand a trade now. He could even demand to team up with Paul.
This would prevent him from being left in limbo with the impending lockout, assuming the Nuggets trade him and he signs an extension with his new team.
He also could get working in his new destination now. It would also not leave Denver hanging if he does intend to leave next season. It's never good for your current employer to demand a trade, but it's better than leaving them hanging like LeBron did with Cleveland.
The trick would be convincing the Nuggets to trade him to wherever Paul ends up. Paul's new team probably wouldn't have a lot of pieces left to swing this one, so it might be hard.
The obvious destination in this situation would be New York, which would be in line with Paul's comments at Melo's wedding. The Knicks may not have enough pieces to swing a trade for Paul, so Donnie Walsh would have to pull off a miracle to get both of them on board.
Another idea is having the two team up in Orlando. This one would probably mean trading Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson for Paul, then moving Rashard Lewis and pieces for Carmelo. That's a lot of "if's" to pull off, though.
This one isn't entirely likely, so Melo might have to play out this season if he wants to play with Paul.
Anthony could demand a trade now and try to beat Paul to the punch out of his current team.
This would mean making a push to get traded to New York, back to his college ball roots in Syracuse.
Anthony would be an instant fan favorite, and would provide a nice inside-outside combo with Amar'e.
The Knicks could still pursue Paul after the fact, but it would be harder to do once they moved a few resources to land Anthony.
The only problem with this line of thinking for Anthony is that D'Antoni's offense is probably more in need of a point guard, so the Knicks may try to push for Paul first.
It would also depend whether the Hornets or Nuggets are more likely to move their leading man, and if either team is willing to give their star a wish.
The advantage of this move for Anthony would be that Paul has recently stated that Orlando is atop his wish list, so he may be able to pull this one off. Of course, if both those scenarios went down, the two would not be playing with one another.
But make no mistake, Anthony would go nuts in New York and raise his already lofty superstar status to newer heights.
If Anthony does go the route of the other Summer 2010 superstars and try to move to what he deems greener pastures, his best option may be to push for a move to Chicago.
This may be Anthony's best chance to move to a championship contender (if he feels Denver isn't one). He would also be the unquestioned leading man in Chicago.
The Bulls would have a formidable lineup of Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer/Kyle Korver, Carmelo, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. That would definitely propel them to, or near, the top of the contenders list.
This move would probably require Luol Deng and a few other pieces to pull off. I don't know if that would be enough to get Anthony out of Denver, but it all might depend on how serious he is on his demand to leave the Nuggets for Chicago.
This piece is obviously jumping the gun a little bit. But with the rumors swirling and Anthony possibly only having one year left on his contract (with the opt-out in play), it is very possible something happens with him sooner rather than later.
What's your take on the Anthony situation and what you think will happen?