Nothing's nicer for a husband-to-be than to be treated like an object of affection amid his wedding lead-up. But for Carmelo Anthony, the person spraying him with the most love these days isn't his intended, Lala Vasquez. It's Amare Stoudemire, who's spent much of his time since signing to new contract with the New York Knicks wooing Melo.
Anthony isn't contractually available until 2011 -- at least officially. And the Nuggets have already offered him a $65 million extension, which provides plenty of motivation (most of it fueled by dollars and sense) for accepting the deal.
Today, the Denver Post quotes an NBA source predicting that Anthony will ultimately accept the offered extension. Yes, the article features so many ifs and maybes as to make this bit of soothsaying largely speculative. But ESPN.com's Marc Stein, quoted in this ESPN piece, agrees.
Not that either he or his colleagues discount how much Melo could bring to the Knicks.
"If they miss out on LeBron, then the Quest For Carmelo begins immediately," says Zach Harper of TrueHoop Network. "As good as Amare is, the Knicks must know they have to put a better player alongside him in order to maximize his production.
Adds Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles: "If New York can't land The King in LeBron James, their next-best option is to find a serviceable point guard who can play up and down (think Jordan Farmar or Kyle Lowry) and go after a player whose game resembles another King from Knicks history -- Bernard King -- Carmelo Anthony next summer. Like King, Anthony is a do-it-all scorer with NYC roots -- he was born there -- and his authentic charm and ability to fill it up would be electric in a city desperate for a star."
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Nonetheless, Stein says, "I struggle to see [Anthony] turning down the extension offer he has on the table from Denver. Just can't see Melo making it to next summer's free-agent market."
Me, too. But Stoudemire's charm offensive will become a lot more persuasive if LeBron winds up going to New York.
Fortunately, the Knicks remain a long shot in the James sweepstakes. If he leaves Cleveland, he'd be smarter to take the leap to Chicago, where he would have a chance to win big right away, as opposed to inking with New York knowing he'd have to wait at least a year for a realistic chance at a championship.
In the meantime, Carmelo is almost certain to wait until after he says "I do" to make any final decisions about his Denver future. Which guarantees him a lot of love in the days to come.