It seems that this time of year is ripe for trade rumor picking.
Today, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that the Los Angeles were in early talks with the Denver Nuggets to hammer out a trade deal that would bring Carmelo Anthony to L.A., ending months of endless speculation regarding Anthony's potential trade destination after months of Melo publicly stating that he wanted a trade out of Denver.
Sources are saying that such a deal could involve Andrew Bynum, who has already missed 24 games this year due to lingering knee problems. L.A. was apparently also looking to deal out Ron Artest, but talk with the Charlotte Bobcats collapsed this weekend after Artest showed a lack of interest in the deal.
Prior to these rumors coming to light, it was thought by many that Melo would eventually end up with the New York Knicks, but such talks would likely involve a third team, likely the Minnesota Timberwolves. Now, it appears that there could be direct negotiations between the Lakers and the Nuggets, possibly a straight Bynum-for-Melo deal.
So, all speculation aside, how would such an acquisition by the Lakers affect the Boston Celtics' run for banner No. 18?
First and foremost, if Melo were to go to L.A., it would make things easier on Boston for the remainder of the regular season. If Melo were to come to New York, the Celtics would have faced a larger challenge in the Eastern Conference.
Where will Carmelo Anthony be once the trade deadline (Feb. 24) passes?
While the Knicks probably would not overcome the Celtics, the Green would certainly face stiffer competition in addition to the powers of Miami, Orlando and Chicago.
Anthony going to the Lakers would give L.A. another huge weapon, providing additional scoring and rebounding that could very well push them into the NBA Finals (despite Melo's inconsistency in the clutch).
If Boston meets the Lakers in the Finals again, it will be even more difficult for the Green to stop an L.A. three-peat. Melo and Kobe together would extremely challenging to defend, and along with Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol in the frontcourt, the Celtics would have to dig deep to overcome the attack.
Of course, the Celtics are more than capable. It's been repeated over and over again (talent, depth, experience, etc.), so I need not repeat myself. It would certainly make for an even more interesting Finals (again, assuming both teams make it to this point), and would present a huge challenge for both teams.
However, as always, this is all speculation. Lots of things could happen.
The Knicks could get Melo, or he could go to L.A. and the Lakers could suffer an epic collapse due to a clashing of egos (all the Celtics fans hope for that, right?). We'll just have to wait and see.
But we know one thing: It will be a very interesting wait.