Will Denver get anything in return for Melo or will them simply watch him leave like Cleveland did with LeBron?
Carmelo Anthony has gone on record with Yahoo Sports saying that he does not intend to sign the 3 year extension being offered to him by the Denver Nuggets. Some Nuggets fans want to convince themselves that Melo is simply leaving his options open, and there is still a good chance he might end up staying with Denver at the end of the season. Let's be realistic. If Anthony had any intention of staying in Denver he would have signed that extension long ago. Carmelo Anthony intends to do what his buddies D-Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh did. He wants to become a free agent, get lots of attention and sign with a team that will give him a chance to win an NBA championship.
The Denver Nuggets need to be proactive in this situation and get as much as they can for Melo before his trade value depreciates to nothing, like LeBron's did at the end of last season. Right now, Melo is set to fetch pretty high value for Denver on the trade market since whichever team trades for him will get Anthony for the majority of this season. Now two things could happen to Melo's trade value as the season progresses: his value could fall due to the fact that his impending free agency is nearing or his value could rise as teams start trying to make moves to get over the hump either to make the playoffs or become an elite team. If we see one of the top teams begin to struggle as the trade deadline nears, we might see a team try to scramble and make a deal for Anthony.
Rumored teams to be interested in trading for Melo include:
Chicago Bulls - unlikely since they are unwilling to include Joakim Noah in any trade
New Jersey - who can offer the young talent and picks Denver would want
New York Knicks - who seem to be a possible landing spot for the next "Big Three" team
New Orleans Hornets - who could see Melo and Chris Paul create a formidable duo
Portland Trailblazers - who have the talent to contend without Melo,but could be elite with him
The problem an Anthony trade poses is that it will require some specific pieces to be able to come to fruition.
1. With the NBA's salary cap and trade rules, whichever team trades for Anthony must put together comparable contracts to ship off to Denver. This could be a problem since Denver will likely be unwilling to accept any long term, large salaries in return for Anthony.
2. Denver must feel like it is getting appropriate compensation. It is nearly impossible to give equal compensation considering the fact that Anthony is a top 10 player in the NBA. However, Denver would likely be looking for some young talent it can build with, along with some unprotected draft picks.
3. The team receiving Melo will either need him to sign an extension with them, or they must risk him jumping ship at the end of the season.
These 3 hurdles will make it incredibly difficult for the Denver Nuggets to trade their star, but this is not an impossible task. Denver should be open to any and all trade offers. They should be willing to work with teams and try to get the most out of Melo. If they wait it out and he leaves at the end of the year, the Nuggets will receive nothing in return.