Newsday's Alan Hahn quotes a knowledgeable insider as saying the Knicks have "more of a sense of urgency'' to finalize a transaction. Why? In part because the Nugs are apparently chatting with the Houston Rockets about a rent-a-player scenario and potentially trying to restart negotiations with the New Jersey, which had been the squad most eager to land Melo before Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov pulled out of Anthony trade talks in a fit of pique. According to Hahn, the Knicks realize the Nuggets could be posturing, but team execs remain concerned, even though a price tag reported by ESPN -- Wilson Chandler , Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov, plus multiple first-round picks -- strikes them as too high.
Meanwhile, NBC New York's Josh Alper sees Stoudemire's health as possibly becoming a major issue not only for the remainder of the Knicks' season, but also in terms of the Melo situation. As Alper points out, Stoudemire missed a win over the Nets on Saturday due to pain in his toes -- and there are no guarantees he'll be back to 100 percent, or on the court at all, for a Wednesday scrap versus the Atlanta Hawks or Saturday's All-Star game.
Indeed, Alper advises the Knicks to rest Stoudemire until after the break, since the team's hopes for the playoffs rest on his shoulders whether the trade for Anthony happens or not. But the Melo factor shouldn't be ignored. Alper writes:
The team needs a coup de toe or at least a new level of power sharing as soon as possible to avoid the pitfalls of relying solely on Stoudemire over the final 28 games of the season.
Translation: The Knicks fear that if Stoudemire is sidelined for a long stretch, the entire team will collapse -- but if Anthony's on hand, the squad could survive until Amare heals.
It's an interesting theory, and one that may work to the Nuggets' advantage -- especially if Stoudemire's toe keeps him on the shelf for the rest of the week.
More from our Sports archive: "Carmelo Anthony trade: Can L.A. Lakers challenge New York Knicks for Melo's services?"