With the Carmelo Anthony trade talks devolving into accusations of tampering against the New York Knicks, an intriguing new question has arisen: If Anthony won't accept a trade to any team other than the Knicks, should the Nuggets explore the idea of a swap with a team that might want his services for this next season alone?
Call it the Rent-a-Superstar program.
The idea comes courtesy of Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler, who sees three squads that might be interested in such arrangement.
First up, the New Orleans Hornets. Kyler believes the franchise would happily surrender the expiring contract of Peja Stojakovic in exchange for Melo's services, in part because of the possibility that Chris Paul, the Anthony pal whose wedding toast in July jump-started trade rumors, might be able to talk him into signing a long-term pact.
Next, the Golden State Warriors, who Kyler thinks "are desperate to make a splash this season and sneak into the playoffs." But desperate enough to pony up Monta Ellis and a draft pick even if getting Anthony to stay in the Bay Area long term would have to be considered unlikely?
Finally, Kyler surmises that the Orlando Magic "would gladly send Vince Carter and a roster player to Denver for Carmelo Anthony. The Magic wouldn't shred their roster for Melo alone, but if they could get him for almost nothing they'd do it, even without a contract extension."
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This last scenario seems credible, given how strong the Magic are at present -- legitimate championship contenders. Anthony might like the chance to win a ring, thereby increasing his value that much more next summer. And given the in-state challenges presented by the new, supercharged Miami Heat, the Magic could be willing to get creative.
The drawbacks to all these deals, as Kyler acknowledges, is that the Nuggets won't get nearly as much in exchange for Anthony if their trading partner knows he's a short timer. But execs should have these conversations anyhow, if only for safety-net reasons. Denver can't afford to go through the entire season with the Anthony matter unresolved, because you can bet the first minute he's free to go, he's outta here.
The Nuggets must receive compensation for the loss of Anthony -- and while it's not panic time yet, they need to keep their options open.