Carmelo Anthony trade: Offer to Knicks a joke? Nets really back in game? Nenê to Houston?

Anyone thinking the Carmelo Anthony trade-go-round couldn't spin faster were wrong. The latest? The Nuggets' compensation demand for Melo and Chauncey Billups was reportedly so crazy that it spurred disbelief; the Nets, who'd pulled out of the Anthony sweepstakes, are interested again; and Nenê is said to be on the Rockets' wish list.

First up: The Knicks. The New York Post's Marc Berman writes that "Denver's asking price for Carmelo Anthony is more outlandish than previously thought." The details? "Denver asked for Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and a first-round pick (obtained via Anthony Randolph) for Anthony and point guard Chauncey Billups."

Berman adds: "It looks like the Nuggets demanded everything but James Dolan's Radio City Music Hall." He maintains that Knicks management was "flabbergasted" by this laundry list, and that sounds about right. The idea of asking for more than a bargainer will provide in order to spur more serious negotiations is a long-established tactic. But if this report is accurate, the Nugs may have unwittingly slowed down talks rather than taking advantage of Amare Stoudemire's toe injury to speed them up. No wonder the Knicks apparently aren't buying the Nuggets' bluff about keeping Melo past the trade deadline.

In the meantime, Berman notes that the Nuggets and Nets are talking again, following Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's declaration that he would opt out of further Melo dealing. But there's still the question of whether Anthony would sign an extension to stay with the franchise. If he still hasn't moved off his previously reported position, these conversations are nonstarters equal to a rumored deal with the Lakers involving Andrew Bynum.

One more thing: ESPN is reporting that the Houston Rockets are interested in obtaining Nenê in exchange for "a combination of young players and draft picks to give the Nuggets more of the rebuilding pieces they are seeking." As Yahoo! Sports' Mark J. Miller points out, "Nenê has an early-termination option in his contract for this summer so the Nuggets may want to send him packing for a package rather than lose him for nothing if he chooses to cut ties with the organization."

Under these circumstances, dealing the once and future Mr. Hilario makes sense. Thanks to his offensive production of late, his stock has never been higher -- and since it's been clear to some of us that it's past time for the Nugs to give up on Nenê developing into the sort of dominating center who can help his squad reach a championship, the team should maximize his value.

If the Nugs are starting over, they might as well really start over...

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

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