The New York Daily News' Frank Isola writes that "Carmelo Anthony could have been a Knick Monday if only team president Donnie Walsh were willing to meet Denver's trade demands, which one team official classified as 'steep.'"
How steep? A source tells Isola the Nuggets want three starters, including Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton, as well as "Eddy Curry's expiring contract and at least one first-round pick." For that, the Knicks would get Anthony and Chauncey Billups, who seemed likely to stay a Nugget after the collapse of talks with the New Jersey Nets.
Isola notes that the Nuggets have also been talking with the Chicago Bulls, but Denver's interest in making Joakim Noah part of the transaction is a deal-breaker.
In the meantime, the Los Angeles Times' Marc Heisler portrays rumors that the Lakers were willing to send Andrew Bynum to Colorado for Anthony's services an example of ESPN pumping up a story to fill airtime. "Next," he concludes, "ESPNLA.com asks Lakers fans if they've seen Bigfoot!"
Then again, the Lakers' last two performances -- a loss to Orlando preceded the mauling by the Bobcats -- certainly suggests L.A. can't expect to cruise to a third straight championship with its present lineup. No wonder that this morning brings "L.A. Lakers: Do the Defending Champs Need To Make a Deadline Deal To Repeat?," in which contributor Bleacher Reports contributor Stephen Patterson prominently mentions Melo.
The prospect of the Lakers getting into the Anthony game for real remains ultra-unlikely. But the longer the Knicks wait to pull the trigger, the greater the odds that a dark horse will enter the field.
More from our Sports archive: "Carmelo Anthony trade: Mark Warkentien to be groomed as general manager for Melo's Knicks?"