One of the 2010-11 season’s biggest running storylines has been the saga of trade rumors surrounding Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony is due to be a free agent following the season, after spending his first eight seasons in Denver.
Throughout the season, many NBA analysts have assumed Anthony would be traded in hopes that the Nuggets can get something in return. The most commonly mentioned trade partners have been the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.
Carmelo is a native New Yorker, having grown up in Brooklyn. He even attended college in NY (Syracuse).
Why would Carmelo go to New York?
Besides the fact that he is a native of the area, Carmelo’s new wife La La Vasquez is also from Brooklyn.
As far as the basketball world goes, the Knicks have undergone a complete turnaround from last season. In the 2009-2011 season, the Knicks ended up with 29-53 record—good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
In the offseason, the New-York based franchise managed to sign big-man Amar'e Stoudemire. Through 47 games, the Knicks have already won 25 games and are currently sitting at sixth place in the East Conference.
The addition of Anthony could add a serious shooting threat to the team, hopefully propelling the Knickerbockers towards the upper echelon of the Eastern conference.
Why New Jersey?
The Nets have missed the playoffs each of the past three seasons. This year, they are 15-34 and are currently 12th in the East. Leading scorer, center Brook Lopez, is ranked 25th in the NBA in points-per-game.
For a Nets team that is looking for an identity, Anthony would prove to be the perfect puzzle piece to rebuild a franchise around, as the 6'8'' forward is currently ranked ninth leading scorer in the NBA.
Right around the New Year, trade talks headed up with owner Mikhail Prokhorov reportedly trying to set up a three-team deal.
On January 20, 2011, Prokhorov announced that the Nets were no longer pursuing Anthony, after talks became too public and too drawn out.
Why Not Stay in Denver?
Colorado is the only place Anthony has called home since he was drafted in 2003. He has enjoyed playoff experience in each season since he started, getting as close as the Western Conference Finals in 2009.
This season, the Nuggets are sitting in seventh place in the West at 28-20 and are only two games back of Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division.
Anthony and Chauncey Billups have been a formidable duo since Billups returned to Denver during the 2008-09 season. The Nuggets also have the up-and-coming Ty Lawson at point guard, who is currently in his second season in the NBA.
Head coach George Karl isn’t surprised Anthony is still a Nugget.
Said Karl: "I have always felt from the very beginning of the season that the chance of it not happening was greater than all of you all thought."
Staying in Denver gives Anthony the best shot of reaching the NBA Finals. They have the talent to score with any team in the league.
If they can shore up the defense, they would have all the makings of a dominant team.