The idea Carmelo Anthony, despite his role as the central figure in NBA trade rumors since September, could stay with the Denver Nuggets long-term has made the rounds over the past week as reports continue to indicate the Nuggets wants a huge return package from the New York Knicks or any other team willing to trade for 'Melo. But ace Yahoo! reporter Adrian Wojnarowski says that the environment in Denver has become too toxic to allow that to happen.
"With the way he's distanced himself from the team, the organization, they're kidding themselves if they think he's signing a new deal," one league official told Yahoo! Sports. "He hasn't checked out on the season because he never checked in."
The Nuggets are working on a contract extension for Karl, and no one close to him believes he can muster much enthusiasm to keep coaching Anthony.
When push comes to shove at the Feb. 24 trade deadline, assuming 'Melo isn't traded before then, Denver has to be comfortable following the path of the Toronto Raptors, who held onto Chris Bosh a year ago despite only nominal playoff hopes and zero championship dreams. There is little reason to believe that 'Melo would sign a deal with the Nuggets, even in the face of an NBA lockout, based on how this season has played out.
Meanwhile, Denver has a playoff spot by only a tenuous half-game margin. Should the Nuggets fall out of the playoff picture (and lose the postseason pay-out) and lose Anthony this summer? All because the team was pushing too hard for a huge package? It all seems so unlikely.