As the media feeding frenzy surrounding the 2010 NBA free agency period heats up, reports have increasingly focused on Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony. Anthony, who doesn't become a free agent until next year, is reportedly being eyed by a number of teams that will have salary cap room to spend in 2011.
Larry Coon writes on ESPN.com that 'Melo is being viewed by NBA general managers as 'the cherry on top of the sundae' that is the 2010 free agency class:
Carmelo Anthony is entering the final year of his contract -- and that's cause for concern in Denver.
Teams with room for one, two, and possibly even three maximum free agents this summer are viewing Anthony as the cherry on top of their sundaes. The idea is this: Start building the nucleus this year, reload with more cap room over the course of the season, and make a run at Anthony next July. Or even better, grab him now if the Nuggets decide to cut their losses and seek to move him this summer rather than risk losing him for nothing in 2011.
Speculation has hit a fever pitch in many NBA locales, and particularly in New York City. A common line of reasoning has the Knicks luring two prime free agents to New York this summer, and -- out of necessity -- filling out their lineup with cheap contracts. And then, the thinking goes, they can nab Melo when Eddy Curry's oversized contract expires next summer.
Coon, however, goes on to argue that Anthony is unlikely to end up in New York, given the Knicks' current salary cap situation.
Meanwhile, some in the media are clamoring for one of this year's key free agency players, the Chicago Bulls, to hold off on a spending this year so that the have room to sign Anthony next season.
The Nuggets, for there part, have said they'll do everything in their power to make sure Anthony remains in Denver. "We're doing everything we can to make 'Melo the basketball version of John Elway, who plays with one team his entire career and becomes The Guy," Nuggets executive Mark Warkentien told The Associated Press on Friday.
The team has offered its star a three-year, $65 million deal to stay in Denver, which Anthony says he is currently pondering.
The 26-year-old has said his preference is to stay in Denver but wants the Nuggets to make moves to bolster the team's front-line after a disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs.
If the team feels Anthony is unlikely to agree to a new contract next season, it may look to trade him in order to get something in return for losing its star player.
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