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Carmelo Anthony to the Orlando Magic? Could a Dwight Howard hookup be in his future?

Yesterday, we wrote that Carmelo Anthony is as good as gone from the Denver Nuggets, and plenty of others agree, spurring speculation far and wide about where he might wind up. We've heard about New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, even New Orleans.

But now, suddenly, a new possibility has jumped to the top of the list: Dwight Howard's Orlando Magic.

This report comes courtesy of CBSSports.com, which puts New York and Orlando at the top of Melo's wish list.

It's no surprise that New York is name-checked. After all, the toasts by Chris Paul and Amare Stoudemire at the July wedding of Anthony and Lala Vazquez are now being seen as the first public indication that Melo might balk at signing a $65 million extension with the Nuggets. Problem is, the Knicks don't have much to offer the Nugs -- who already picked up ex-Knick Al Harrington in free agency.

Orlando, on the other hand, is an Eastern Conference power thanks to Howard -- and it's also got a lineup filled with veterans who might be deemed expendable if Anthony was interested in heading to Florida. Magic players with ten years of experience or more include Quentin Richardson, Jason Williams, Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter.

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Granted, the Nuggets want to build for the future if Anthony leaves, and this quartet neither addresses the most pressing positional needs nor offers long-term help. But using such ballers temporarily, or in trades with other clubs, could allow Denver to lay a foundation for a Melo-less future.

And they've got to act now. As Bob Ryan and Dan Le Batard pointed out on yesterday's edition of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, Anthony is among the NBA's elite players, along with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and not many others. Indeed, Le Batard suggested that Melo might be the league's best pure scorer, adding that anyone would want him.

The Nuggets need to capitalize on that desire, rather than waiting and hoping for Anthony to change his mind -- and potentially getting nothing in return.

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