Carmelo Anthony Trade Options Down To Knicks, Bulls And Uh-Oh

The New Jersey Nets have ended the Carmelo Anthony hostage situation trade talks by walking away from table. Both owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King claimed during Wednesday's press conference that the decision was final; should 'Melo somehow express interest in getting his extension in Newark and the Denver Nuggets drop their more outlandish requests from what had already been a lopsided offer, we'll see how well the Nets' proclamation holds.

In the meantime, the floodgates for hare-brained schemes to get 'Melo to the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and other points unknown have opened. The Nuggets have been involved in highly publicized trade talks revolving around their star for almost five months, three of which overlapped with actual, meaningful games. Today, 'Melo is five months closer to unrestricted free agency than he was when the Nuggets and Nets first began to dance.

And that's what this is all about, after all: 'Melo plans to leave Denver come hell or high snow, and the Nuggets, having watched the Raptors and Cavaliers fall so hard so fast when their own stars fled, wants to get something before it's too late. If 'Melo won't sign with Denver, the Nuggets must look toward tomorrow and find some sort of consolation prize.

That why Anthony's other suitors are now in the driver's seat.

The Nuggets don't have the luxury of being able to blink, or bluff. LeBron James made that impossible. The Cavaliers have made that impossible. LeBron and 'Melo came into the league together in 2003. The season prior their arrival, do you know what the Cavs' and Nuggets' combined record was? 34-130. That's 34 wins combined, 130 losses combined. That's history for Denver, right? But it's the present for Cleveland, and it's quite possibly the future for the Nuggets if 'Melo doesn't bring back some gold.

So enter the Knicks, who could package a pair of first-round picks (assuming they can flip Anthony Randolph to the Wolves) with one of the team's young gunners like Wilson Chandler or Danilo Gallinari. And enter the Bulls, who just might consider moving Joakim Noah now that the Kurt Thomas-Carlos Boozer-Taj Gibson frontcourt looks like a top-flight unit on both ends.

And hell, enter the Mavericks (Rodrigue Beaubois, man?), Rockets (Kevin Martin and the Knicks' 2012 pick), Wizards (come home, 'Melo!) and every other team in the league. The Nuggets might try to play hard-to-get for a minute, but Denver's been batting its eyelashes for far too long to get away with playing coy now. The Nuggets have been open for business for five months now. The top suitor is gone, and the door is wide open. Let the ridiculous trade ideas games begin.

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