Reports that Amare Stoudemire's toe injury had upped pressure on the Knicks to trade for Carmelo Anthony, coupled with restlessness in Lakers Nation, suggested that a deal might favor the Nugs. But the winds have shifted, with insiders now saying the Nugs' sense that Melo might stay in Denver if no transaction happens is built on quicksand.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski quotes knowledgeable types who say the relationship between Anthony and the Nuggets has deteriorated beyond the point of repair. An excerpt:
Several sources describe a locker room frustrated with Anthony chasing shots and points over winning games, a resistance to listen to coach George Karl and a distancing of himself throughout the season from the rest of the team....
"With the way he's distanced himself from the team, the organization, they're kidding themselves if they think he's signing a new deal," one league official told Yahoo! Sports. "He hasn't checked out on the season because he never checked in."
Anthony's performances of late -- particularly in a loss to Houston -- certainly undermine the argument that endless trade rumors haven't been a distraction. The team can certainly build up leads thanks to its offensive firepower, only to let games slip away due to an inability to stop opponents' runs, due to either a lack of energy of a shortage of interest.
Meanwhile, the rest of the league seems as frustrated with the lack of a trade resolution as are fans of the Nuggets and the Knicks. NBC Sports' Kurt Helin cites a quote from Portland Rich Cho, who believes deals involving other teams are stuck in limbo as franchises wait for a clean-up of the Melo mess. Said Cho:
"It looked like that deal was going to go down with New Jersey. And then that got held up. I don't know if it's still going to go down or something is going to happen with New York or maybe Melo stays there [in Denver], but it does seem to be holding things up a little bit."
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Unfortunately for execs like Cho, the Melo trade now looks like it'll happen on the cusp of the February 24 trade deadline, not days in advance. Why? Not just the Nuggets' unrealistic expectations, but also turmoil in the Knicks front office -- the subject of the following Yahoo! Sports video clip:
More from our Sports archive: "Carmelo Anthony trade: Mark Warkentien to be groomed as general manager for Melo's Knicks?"