Why is Carmelo Anthony smiling? Because on June 24, he received a sweetheart deal related to an April DUI bust; after pleading guilty to a lesser charge (driving while ability impaired), he was sentenced to a year's probation and a not exactly whopping 24 hours of community service, and he lost eleven points on his license -- meaning that after what his attorney estimates to be a modest ninety-day license suspension, he can drive wherever and whenever he'd like. (After home Nuggets games, clear the streets! For God's sake, clear the streets!) In addition, he told the Denver Post that Nugs veep of player personnel Rex Chapman assured him that he's not on the block.
Then again, neither Chapman nor any other Nuggets exec has said the same thing for public consumption -- and they must have a reason for their silence.
One possibility is that they don't want to set a precedent by speaking to the press about trade prospects, since responding to every rumor could soon become a fulltime job. It's more likely, though, that they'd prefer not to limit their options. They probably have no firm plans to trade Melo, despite his intermittent petulance and immaturity, not to mention his disinterest in a little concept known as team basketball, because they recognize that he's young and extremely gifted, with as much upside as all but a handful of his NBA peers. Nonetheless, if some squad offers the Nuggets the moon and the stars (especially the stars) for his services, they don't want to be in the position of contradicting a publicly expressed position by listening to the pitch. That doesn't mean that they'd say "yes" to any offer -- but neither does it imply that a "no" is guaranteed.
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As previously stated, Anthony is apt to be wearing a Nuggets uni when next season rolls around. But perhaps leaving him with a little doubt will provide some motivation, rather than letting him become too pleased with himself. -- Michael Roberts