Six weeks after Anthony's advisers -- agent Leon
Rose, raconteur William Wesley, et Al -- first began making noise
that their client wanted to be traded, little of substance has
changed to push the story forward. Sources tell CBSSports.com that
Melo's camp remains insistent upon a trade to New York, New
Jersey or Chicago. (Two executives expressed doubts Thursday about
Houston's level of involvement in the sweepstakes, saying
Anthony's people have not been pushing a Rockets deal.) There are
flaws with each of those scenarios, and Denver -- led by newly installed
GM Masai Ujiri -- has been trying to expand the playing field to
solicit more palatable offers.
both sides are most comfortable with to this point remains New
Jersey, which can offer No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, the expiring contracts of Troy Murphy and Kris Humphries,
and multiple draft picks (with Golden State's 2012 first-rounder
potentially the most valuable). The Nuggets, for good reason, want
whom the Nets don't want to trade -- and whom Anthony wants on
his team. So the Nets, according to sources, have been canvassing
the league for a trading partner, with the most likely result
continuing to be sending guard Devin Harris
to a third team that possesses a skilled wing player the Nuggets
would view as a decent replacement for Anthony.
So the one thing that strikes me most about this article is that Berger is flat out stating that Anthony is willing to go to New Jersey. We've heard mixed messages about that in the past, but if Anthony is willing to go to NJ, then it's over for the Bulls and Knicks if NJ is willing to give up Favors in the deal.
Neither Chicago or New York can add that kind of value, and if Melo is happy with the team left, then that deal seems like it's just too obvious for everyone involved to pass up.
The Bulls apparently are unwilling to put Noah into the deal, and I don't blame them. First, if they add Noah, they still don't beat the Nets offer. So it really comes down to whether the Nets are in or not. If the Nets are in play, then we're screwed either way. If the Nets aren't in play, then I don't think the Bulls need to add Noah to get a deal done, because the other teams in play don't have all that much to offer.
Either way, agreeing to add Noah at this point is only a negative for Chicago, as it also screws with his mind in the (highly likely) event that Melo isn't coming here no matter what. That being the case, the public face of "We're not trading Noah" is absolutely the right call even if when push comes to shove they are willing to.
The article goes on to mention the Clippers as a sleeper team in the sweepstakes. If Anthony is willing to go to the Clippers then I think they definitely have some value they could pass along to the Nuggets including Minnesota's unprotected 2012 1st round draft pick. A pick that won't get tremendously worse due to the addition of Melo. They also can save Denver more money (don't need to fully match salary) and could throw in a quality young player like Eric Gordon.
So far, the clips haven't appeared on any lists for Melo, but there's a lot about that deal which makes sense for both sides. The Clippers could actually be quite good if they were able to trade mostly future assets and expirings for Melo. They'd have Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Carmelo, Griffin, and Kaman. Even if Griffin isn't the stud everyone hopes, that's a pretty great starting five, and the Clippers aren't as laughably bad on the court as their reputation already, so adding a star makes them a quality team.
Is it a championship caliber team? No, probably not, but it's a team in a big market in a nice weather city where his wife would want to live, so it's got that going for it.
Either way, I expect the Bulls are out. This isn't surprising, as I don't think the Bulls ever had the assets to pull something off. The only way this works is if Melo simply demands Chicago and no where else, and even then, the Nuggets can merely call his bluff, because we don't have cap room to sign him next summer anyway.