With just one week to go until the NBA trading deadline, the Carmelo Anthony trade talks are at an all-time high.
Just before the season started, Anthony expressed his desire to be traded this season, in big part to avoid having to deal with the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement that will occur during the offseason. The agreement will likely mark the beginning of decreased salaries, particularly to highly paid superstars.
Ideally for Anthony, he would like to be traded from Denver in the next week, and then immediately sign an extension somewhere in the range of three years and $65 million dollars.
Here we rank the teams that Anthony is most likely to play for after this week.
Dallis has the second best record in the west, but has arguably the weakest offense of any of the top teams in the NBA.
A trade involving Anthony going to Dallas would would immediately make Dallas one of the favorites to win the title this season. The most likely scenario here would be for Anthony to be traded to Dallas by himself, with Denver receiving two first-rounders, as well as Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Sebastial Telfair and Rodrigue Beaubois.
This would clear some salary for Denver and give them two first rounders, although two first-round pick from Dallas, who wins 50 games every year, is not the same as, for instance, two first-rounders from New Jersey.
The problem here is that Dallas seems unwilling to sign Anthony after the season. This would not meet Anthony's intention of signing a big contract before the collective bargaining agreement are enacted this summer.
Heading into this season, many thought that the Lakers would cruise through the western conference, but this has simply not been the case. After beginning the season 8-0, the Lakers have struggled against several of the lowliest teams in the NBA, including most recently the then 9-46 Cleveland Cavaliers, and have just two total wins against the top seven teams in the league.
A trade involving Anthony going to the Lakers would almost certainly involve Los Angeles trading away their young center Andrew Bynum. While Bynum has played very well at times when healthy, he is one of the most injury prone players in the league. In fact, Bynum, who skipped college, missed significant time due to injury during his junior and senior years of highschool.
The problem is that, while Bynum may be prone to getting hurt, and does not put up the offensive numbers that Anthony consistently produces, the Lakers' losing Bynum would significantly hurt their defense.
Without Anthony, the Lakers have a respectable defense that is old, but that consists of two seven footers, as well as great defenders Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest.
A Laker team with Anthony instead of Bynum would have probably the best offense in the NBA, but one of the weaker defenses, as Anthony is not one of the most active or conscientious defenders in the league. The Lakers and Phil Jackson want to win a championship this season, and they know that defense wins championships, so losing Bynum and acquiring Anthony would likely hurt their chances of three-peating.
Prior to drafting Carmelo Anthony in 2003, the Nuggets had missed the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons and were one of the laughing stocks of the NBA.
Well, Denver has now made it to the postseason during each of Anthony's seven seasons, and they are in position to make it an eighth consecutive year.
Currently the no. 7 seed in the west, Denver has one of the most efficient offenses in the league, and has remained in contention all year long despite constant rumors of Anthony's potential departure. With a roster featuring long-time Denver Nuggets Nene, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Chauncey Billups and of course Anthony, Denver could scare a lot of teams down the stretch if Anthony should stay.
So far in February, Carmelo is averaging a season-high 31 points per game on 53 percent shooting.
The Knicks are the team Carmelo Anthony has been trying to play for since the beginning of the season. However, New York has been unable to put a deal in place to obtain Anthony.
A front court featuring Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony would be the top scoring and most athletic in the NBA, hands down.
This week, there were talks of the Knicks acquiring Anthony and point guard Chauncey Billups in an exchange for four of the Knicks' top five players, with the All-Star Stoudemire staying in New York. This would leave New York with a strong three of Stoudemire, Anthony and Billups, but with a supporting cast of little more than Tony Douglas, Shawne Williams, and Ronnie Turiaf. That is essentially the equivalent of the current Miami Heat, but with a 34-year-old Billups instead of Dwyane Wade, and a much thinner supporting cast.
Unless Denver can offer JR Smith or Nene, it seems very unlikely that the Knicks would strip such a big chunk of their team for just two players.
Over the last two seasons, New Jersey has a had a horrific record of 29-110, but they have cap space for Anthony and unlike most other teams, they have the ability to trade multiple no. 1 picks to Denver.
A potential three team deal has been heavily rumored this week that would involve Anthony, Billups, and Detroit's Richard Hamilton traded to New Jersey, with Denver receiving New Jersey point guard Devin Harris, two first-round picks and at least two other Nets, and with Johan Petro and Troy Murphy going to Detroit.
This deal would make the Nets much better immediately, and certainly a playoff contender over the next few seasons, while Denver would be worse off this season but would have the tools to rebuild. As far as Detroit, they would be removing a lot of veteran salary off of a team that is not contending any time soon anyway.
The Nets may not be as appealing to Carmelo as the Knicks, but they are moving to Brooklyn in 2012 and their current arena is just 30 miles from New York City.