The two sides remain locked in a stalemate over
Anthony's future while a three-year, $65 million extension offer
sits untouched in front of him. While Nuggets officials --
including influential adviser Bret Bearup and executive Josh
Kroenke -- continue to rebuff trade inquiries while hoping to
repair the franchise's relationship with Anthony, privately the
team is beginning to examine which teams would have the most
attractive combination of young players, draft picks and expiring
contracts to complete a deal. And the team currently viewed by people
close to the situation as having the most realistic chance of
putting together a blockbuster, perhaps multi-team deal for
Anthony is the New Jersey Nets.
"They're working the hardest to get a deal done," one of the sources said.
With No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, multiple extra draft picks, and Devin Harris,
whose $8.98 million contract could be parlayed into a serviceable
replacement for Anthony in a three-team trade, New Jersey has the
makings of a package that would appeal to Nuggets officials, one
of the people with knowledge of Denver's strategy said. The key,
according to the person, would be involving a third team to
convert Harris into something the Nuggets would view as "decent
replacement value" for Anthony.
The Bulls are viewed by one source as "not a realistic candidate" due to the team's unwillingness at this point to include Joakim Noah in the deal. The Bulls and Noah are currently negotiating an extension.
The full link goes into great deal on how a deal could work for Denver through New Jersey and Philadelphia. On the surface, it makes quite a bit of sense. Iguodala + Favors + picks to Denver. Harris + filler to Philly and Melo to NJ. As well as discussing new GM Masai Uriji's tough spot as he doesn't want his first move to be fleeced in a trade of the Nuggets cornerstone, but also came from Toronto and saw how much worse waiting could be.
The framework proposed leaves NJ with a team of Melo, Lopez, and crap on a stick. Is Melo really signing an extension to play in that situation? If so, his move is more about getting back to the NY area than winning, because that group is far worse than group he's presently with, and the Eastern Conference is now top heavy and the tougher of the two. The Nets, Bulls, Knicks, and Magic were his preferred destinations initially, so maybe he'll go to NJ to lose, but simply to be in the NY area.
The Bulls are viewed as unrealistic because they won't include Noah, but as I noted earlier, I don't think the Nuggets ultimately would view Noah as that big a throw in given his new contract demands and the fact that they have a quality center on the roster already. Looking at the four teams he initially listed, our package is better than Orlando's, debatable with the Knicks, and clearly behind the Nets.
In other words, it's going to require Anthony to force the action to end up in Chicago. Is that a possibility? Sure. He can control his fate by deciding whether to sign the extension or not, and of the teams he could go to Chicago and Orlando offer him the best chance to win, but his NY ties simply may play just as big a roll in his choice as winning.