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Carmelo Anthony trade: With Nuggets reportedly ready to deal, is he phoning it in?

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Last night, the Nuggets failed to secure George Karl's 1,000th win vs. the Boston Celtics in part because Carmelo Anthony sat out, reportedly due to cold symptoms and right-knee inflammation. Is it coincidental that these issues flared up the same night reports suggested that the Nugs have finally realized Melo must be traded?

This info comes courtesy of CBS Sports's Ken Berger, who's been following the Anthony matter closely. Berger writes:

After weeks of speculation and despite a strong start by the Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony's last days in Denver may finally have arrived.

The Nuggets have all but decided to trade Anthony if he does not sign an extension with the team by the trade deadline, and Denver's management team believes Anthony is fully prepared to play out the season and become a free agent, multiple sources told CBSSports.com.

Later in the piece, Berger talks about possible players available for swapping, most of whom have been discussed in the past. Names mentioned include the Philadelphia 76ers' Andre Iguodala and the New Jersey Nets' Derrick Favors -- and Berger believes that third parties may no longer be needed to make a Nugs-Nets transaction work. The rub is getting Melo to agree to inking a long-termer with New Jersey.

As for the New York Knicks, Berger says Melo still wants to be there so badly that he could poison other wells -- a bad-news scenario for Denver.

Given that the Nugs visit NYC this Sunday, expect speculation to ramp up again -- especially if Melo finds more excuses not to play between now and then.

More from our Sports archive: "Carmelo Anthony-Amare Stoudemire-Chris Paul team-up: Don't laugh it off."

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