After a trade that would have sent Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey fell through (and Chicago re-signed Joakim Noah), Denver fans began to wonder if Anthony might remain in Denver for a while longer -- even as other observers debated whether the Nuggets would be better off without Melo. But now, reports are surfacing about new attempts to wheel and deal, with Chauncey Billups and the L.A. Clippers' Chris Kamen among the names mentioned.
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The journalist driving many of these rumblings is CBS Sports' Ken Berger. In his latest report, he writes that the four-team deal with New Jersey came unmoored due partly to the Nuggets' desire to obtain one more "asset," plus the sense that Utah's Andrei Kirilenko wouldn't ink a contract extension.
However, one of Berger's sources suggested that the Nuggets could revitalize trade talks by tossing Chauncey Billups in to the package -- something that would likely entice the likes of Charlotte's Larry Brown to get involved.
Berger also hears that the Nuggets have actively pursued talks with the L.A. Clippers -- a team that's never been able to step into the league's elite, but one based in the sort of location that would appeal to LaLa Vazquez, Melo's attention-loving spouse. In this scenario, a major target was Kamen, but, Berger writes, "discussions died quickly when it became evident that the Nuggets wanted Eric Gordon in addition to one of the most valuable first-round picks in the league -- Minnesota's pick, which is top-10 protected in 2011 and unprotected in '12."
Whether this deal can be revived or not, the mere fact that the Nuggets are continuing to work the phones is a good sign. Allowing Melo to remain on Denver's roster through the 2010-2011 season isn't an option, since the Nugs would likely get nothing in exchange, thereby virtually guaranteeing years of mediocrity. And Coloradans want a viable NBA franchise, not an opportunity to burn Anthony jerseys in Cleveland-style bonfires come next summer.