Carmelo Anthony has lots of options. Melo could sign a monster contract extension with the Nuggets, try to create a Melo-Chris Paul-Amare Stoudemire trio in New York (with a trade possibly happening before next season), or maybe even push for a Melo-Kobe Bryant package with the Lakers. And is a leap to the Chicago Bulls now part of the mix?
That's the theory of Bleacher Report's Brad Goldbach, who's collected five potential Melo moves following Chris Paul's latest grumbling about his current situation in New Orleans.
Among Goldbach's quintet:
1. Play out 2010-2011, to see if the Nuggets' addition of Al Harrington, combined with the presumed return of George Karl and the hoped-for healing of banged-up big men Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen and Nenê, means they're now capable of reaching the big time.
2. Sign the contract extension pronto, thereby inoculating himself against problems that could be caused by an NBA lockout.
3. Demand to join Chris Paul wherever he might be heading.
4. Pre-empt Paul and insist on being dealt to the Knicks, where Amare Stoudemire is already lobbying on his behalf.
5. Aim to become a member of the Chicago Bulls.
This last notion is the least debated to date, and arguably the most intriguing. Throughout the off-season suspense over where LeBron James might wind up, prognosticators aplenty put their money on Chicago, which made sense. Had LeBron gone to the Bulls, the combination of him, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer would have been formidable -- at least as strong as the LeBron-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh triumvirate in Miami.
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Could the same statement be made substituting Carmelo for LeBron in the Bulls' plans? Maybe. Teams would quake at the thought of facing Melo and Boozer side by side, with Noah's peskiness waiting in the wings. The Bulls' offensive balance might be a bit lopsided, with the three, four and five slots better stocked than the one and the two. But in the playoffs, when muscle counts for more, that could literally be a huge advantage.
Such debates are sure to sicken Nuggets fans. The longer they go on, the more Denver's $65 million contract offer will begin to seem like the least interesting direction Melo could go. With that in mind, the Nugs' front office should increase the pressure to lock up Anthony sooner rather than later.
Waiting remains an option, but it sure as hell doesn't look like the best one.