Let the feeding frenzy begin.
The NBA trade deadline is now only two weeks away and Carmelo Anthony is back to being the center of trade negotiations.
In the aftermath of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov taking their trade package off the table, the New York Knicks appear to be the front-runners to land Anthony. The deal that was rumored to have been discussed was a three-way trade involving the Knicks, Timberwolves and the Nuggets.
The Knicks receive Anthony, the Nuggets receive Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer, and a first round pick, and the Timberwolves receive Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry.
Except, trade talks have now taken a turn.
Now, the Los Angeles Lakers have entered the negotiations. And it appears that the Lakers Organization is pondering whether a deal for Anthony is necessary to rejuvenate the team.
A look at some of the trade scenarios that have all of a sudden become as unpredictable as the weather in the Midwest.
It certainly is a possibility.
Anthony has made it known that he desires to play on a bigger stage. And Los Angeles is the other market besides New York that can provide that for him. But, at this point it appears that the Nuggets are using the Lakers as leverage in an attempt to persuade the Knicks into including more assets in the proposed package.
The Good: To be blunt, the Lakers have looked very underwhelming so far this year. Their only win against an elite team came against a Chicago Bulls team in November.
What's most concerning about the Lakers is that they have an obvious size advantage in the front-court. But, it is almost nullified by the fact that they have mediocre three-point shooting, and no consistent entry passers to the low post to help exploit their advantage in the interior.
A move to land Carmelo Anthony would provide a much needed jolt to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Then, the Lakers will have the chance to field a hellacious perimeter tandem that rivals the Miami Heat.
Anthony is an underrated competitor and he is someone who is hungry to prove that he is not a guy who just puts up great numbers, but he can win also. He and Bryant are real close friends and they would relish the opportunity to play with one another.
The Bad: Any deal involving Anthony to the Lakers would not only have to include Andrew Bynum, but probably Lamar Odom as well. Bynum for Anthony straight up works financially, but the Nuggets are going to want more assets.
If Bynum and Odom are included in the package, the daunting size advantage of the Lakers disappears. And the Lakers become much weaker defensively.
One also has to wonder if Anthony would be able to co-exist with Bryant and Gasol. Gasol has politely complained about not receiving enough touches in the past. So concerns about whether Gasol will even see the ball are warranted if Kupchak decides to bring in another volume shooter.
This is the most obvious destination for Anthony.
The Knicks have made it known they have had their sights set on him ever since LeBron James spurned them for South Beach. And Anthony has been forcing his way to the Knicks by agreeing to sign the extension, only if he is traded to the Knicks.
The Good: Basketball is certainly relevant again in New York City and that is a victory in itself. The Garden hasn't been this loud since the days of Latrell Sprewell. But, what you see is what you are going to get from these Knicks, a first round fodder for the Eastern Conference elite. Add Carmelo Anthony to the mix and all of a sudden, this team has a much higher ceiling.
The Bad: Is Melo a leader? All of us are aware of his scoring ability, but it remains to be seen if he can lead his team to deep playoff runs. In Denver, it took the acquisition of Chauncey Billups for Anthony to get to the Western Conference Finals in 2009.
The talent is certainly there, but are the intangibles? To his credit, Melo acknowledged he needs to work on other dimensions of his game.
D'Antoni is the most prominent offensive mind in the NBA, but he has never been able to get the best out of his players defensively. Anthony has the size, length, and athleticism to be a lockdown defender, but defense has rarely been demanded of him.
Is D'Antoni going to hold Anthony accountable on the defensive end? Probably not.
Ric Bucher has reported that the Lakers contacted the Bobcats looking to trade Artest for Stephen Jackson or Gerald Wallace.
Stephen Jackson: Jackson is in the first year of his $28 million, so his contract will be difficult to move.
After leading the Bobcats to their first playoff appearance in franchise history, the Bobcats appear to have grown weary of Jackson's antics. Still, this is a player who is as completive as anyone in the league, makes clutch baskets, and a very tough defender. If Phil Jackson could handle Rodman, get one good year out of Artest then, Stephen Jackson shouldn't be much of a problem.
Gerald Wallace: The ultimate glue guy. If there is a player one would most love to see on a winning team, then Gerald Wallace probably tops the list. The Lakers might have realized that they made a mistake by letting Ariza walk to sign Artest to the full MLE.
Wallace would give the Lakers the athleticism they have lacked since the days that Ariza was the starting small forward.