Sources close to the Nuggets say that Kroenke has already made it clear he will not be held hostage by Anthony's pending free agency. If Carmelo won't commit, the Nuggets will trade him rather than go through what Cleveland went through last year, only to ultimately lose Carmelo to another team.
I'll just cut to the chase: The Nuggets core consists of Carmelo Anthony, a soon-to-be 34-year-old Chauncey Billups, and least featured—but ultimate role-player—Nene.
That's a core expected to be mentioned in contention for the next three years, obviously, but as assembled with the other teams in the West's upper echelon there's going to be reserve for questioning: What's the extent of their ceiling?
In the 2009 NBA Playoffs, the Nuggets made their first Western Conference Finals since the 1980's, only to lose to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and their Los Angeles Lakers. In the 2010 NBA Playoffs, the Nuggets figured to have chemistry issues, which is understood due to George Karl's absence.
But omitting all excuses, how can they go forward and position themselves among the West's contigent?
Considering the Nuggets' continual payroll after Kenyon Martin's contract expires in its last season of 2010-11, whatever moves they could make in the upcoming free agency period next season aren't neccessirly liberating. Therefore, as I expect, Anthony is sure to respond through demanding being moved.
The Nuggets, would almost certainly want to ship him to the Eastern Conference, where teams such as the Knicks and Bulls await patiently at each other's inquest.
Though these are three questions Anthony must obligate himself to before the start of training camp:
1.) Is Raymond Felton—or will he be—better than Derrick Rose?
2.) Who is more likely to both win and stay durable, Carlos Boozer or Amar'e Stoudemire?
3.) Which franchise has won championships, has the coaching staff in place, and wants to promote defense year-round (or seasonally)?
It was reported three weeks ago that Carmelo Anthony was content on joining the New York Knicks after the 2010-11 season—but so was LeBron James two months ago.
The fact is, how much of a drop-off is the Knicks starting small forward Danilo Gallinari from Carmelo Anthony in Coach D'Antoni's system? Not much.
Gallinari spreads the floor, has just as much potential barring injuries, and doesn't play much defense. The way Knicks fans tell it, one minute Danilo Gallinari is a top-five small forward and the second after, a LeBron James insurance policy.
But the Nuggets brass is more likely to agree to terms with the Knicks package than what the Bulls could offer. Fore example:
Nuggets Get: Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry
Knicks Get: Anthony
The Bulls will try a different approach, one that disperses of Luol Deng's owed $45 million and plainly hashes onto Anthony's deliberation, in which he denies Nuggets brass the leverage they're looking for.
And the Bulls aren't just any team. Because it was and still remains to be a small part of this argument, the Bulls' should be a top-five team in the East this year.
Without question, Chicago arguably has the best point guard in the East—if not the NBA—the best power forward in the conference, and a coach fresh off a NBA Finals appearance and 2008 World Championship as an assistant for the Celtics.
Anthony would join Rose, Noah, and Boozer if he can swing a trade to the Windy City, like this:
Nuggets Get: Deng, Cha 2012 protected pick (unprotected 2016), Taj Gibson, James Johnson
Bulls Get: Anthony