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Carmelo Anthony trade: Can L.A. Lakers challenge New York Knicks for Melo's services?

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The New York Knicks' expected hiring of Mark Warkentien, formerly the Nuggets' general manager, to a consultancy gig has most NBA observers convinced that Carmelo Anthony is headed to his dream city of New York. But now, with the Los Angeles Lakers publicly talking about a trade to improve their chances of three-peating, is there any possibility Melo could be heading west?

According to the Los Angeles Times, no. An inside source quoted by the paper says there's "zero" chance of Anthony becoming a Laker.

Maybe so -- but there are a handful of factors that argue against dismissing this prospect out of hand. Speculation about a Carmelo sign-and-trade with the Lakers has been bubbling since at least last July -- and just over a week ago, Kobe Bryant defended Melo against booing in his home arena.

Granted, Bryant implied that a warmer welcome at the Pepsi Center might make Carmelo more inclined to re-up with the Nuggets -- and in recent comments, Anthony's continued to keep Denver among his options. But does anyone interpret these remarks as anything other than subterfuge? After all, Melo's wife, LaLa Vasquez, clearly wants to land in a bigger media market -- and while he'd have to share the L.A. spotlight with Kobe, LaLa probably wouldn't object, since its glow is a helluva lot brighter from her perspective than any in Colorado. And if he really wants a championship, going to L.A. would dramatically improve his odds of earning a ring.

More practically, the Nuggets would be wise to hint at L.A. interest if only to potentially improve an offer from NYC. Since the Nets took themselves out of the Melo sweepstakes, the Knicks have been essentially competing against themselves for his services. Another possible bidder would help drive up the price -- and for the Nuggets, that would be all to the good.

More from our Sports archive: "Carmelo Anthony trade: Did Amare Stoudemire, NY Knicks kill 4-way deal featuring NJ Nets?"

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