ESPN.com's Chris Broussard filed a report yesterday listing the Orlando Magic among the teams "trying to put together trade packages for Carmelo Anthony," the high-scoring free-agent-to-be looking to leave the Denver Nuggets. The crux of Broussard's report is that Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Brandon Roy doesn't like sharing the ball with point guard Andre Miller, and that "Portland's phone is ringing off the hook" as teams in the hunt for Anthony scramble to acquire trade assets such as Miller.
The Magic's interest in Anthony, among the league's most gifted offensive talents, is long-known and widely reported, and that feeling may be mutual. In August, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com said the Magic "are believed to be at the top of [Anthony's] list" of preferred destinations. However, in recent days, the New York Daily News reported Anthony would only agree to an extend-and-trade deal with the New York Knicks. Then again, Al Iannazzone of the Bergen Record, among the most trusted and reliable scribes covering the NBA, said "sources denied" any such report about Anthony's exclusive interest in the Knicks.
Despite these contradictions, a few facts are clear. First, the Nuggets and Anthony are certain to part company before the February trading deadline, as Denver does not want to risk losing its franchise player for nothing in the coming free-agency period. Second, Orlando will do its best to make a competitive offer for his services. It would appear, at least from this vantage point, as though the New Jersey Nets, who can offer up to four first-round draft picks in the next two seasons, as well as rookie rebounding machine Derrick Favors and Troy Murphy's expiring contract, have the best collection of assets to tempt Denver.
Also worth noting? Via NetsDaily, Woody Paige, a veteran sports columnist for the Denver Post, believes future picks have more appeal to the Nuggets than young players. That news may bode ill for Orlando, as it does not have any future picks in addition to its own to offer.
Now in his eighth season, Anthony owns career averages of 24.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals. Though shooting just 44.2 percent from the floor this season, he's boosted his rebounding average to a career-best 8.3 per contest. In a game against the Magic earlier this week, Anthony scored 35 points on 14-of-21 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds.