Carmelo Anthony's message has remained pretty consistent through all this trade talk. Yesterday, according to an ESPN report, Anthony's camp reiterated, through sources, that his top two preferred destinations are New York and Chicago.
Over the last 72 hours, sources said, Anthony's representatives -- headed by agent Leon Rose -- have been ramping up the pressure on the Nuggets to complete a deal with the Knicks or the Bulls before training camps open leaguewide next week.
Sources say that Denver officials, however, are not inclined to rush into anything.
The Nuggets, sources said, are clinging to the hope that Anthony might reconsider his trade-me stance once he starts hearing some Denver-friendly voices upon reporting to camp after weeks of isolation from the organization.
It's the right approach, especially considering Anthony's isolation from the team. He hasn't really allowed the Nuggets to make their pitch, but assuming he shows up to training camp, he'll have no choice but to listen.
The other problem for Anthony is that his preferred destinations don't really have a lot to offer. The Bulls have been (correctly, I think) unwilling to throw blossoming center Joakim Noah into any trade, and the Knicks lack draft picks and as promising a group of young players as other teams around the league. In fact, it's the Knicks' rival, the New Jersey Nets, that most league observers believe can offer the best package for the Nuggets.
ESPN.com reported Monday that the Nets are widely regarded in NBA front-office circles as the frontrunner for Anthony. New Jersey is reportedly willing to package No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors with the expiring contracts of Troy Murphy and Kris Humphries and at least one future first-rounder.
However, according to a report by Fred Kerber of the New York Post, the Nets remain "cautious" with any Anthony trade scenarios, and would only make a move if they have assurances that Anthony would sign a long-term contract extension. ESPN's Chris Broussard, speaking on television, reported that Anthony actually vetoed a proposed trade to the Nets last season, according to SB Nation's Nets blog Nets Daily.
The other team in the picture is the Houston Rockets, but it appears like they're a distant player because they seem unwilling to part with Kevin Martin. Also, the Nuggets would like to send Anthony to the Eastern Conference, if possible.
SB Nation's Nuggets blog, upon hearing the Nets were the "favorites," solicited its readers for some Nets trade scenarios, which you can find here. SB Nation Denver has a roundup of all the latest rumors here.