Ford and Stein: In Carmelo Anthony Trade Discussions, Denver Nuggets Seek Youth, Salary Relief, and Draft Picks

DENVER - APRIL 28: Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets as C.J. Miles #34 of the Utah Jazz defends in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 28, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Jazz 116-102 as the Jazz holds a 3-2 lead in the series. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Denver Nuggets are moving closer to dealing unhappy All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, report Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Denver is seeking "at least one topflight young player it can market along with salary-cap relief and multiple future first-round picks" in return. Denver's willingness to field trade calls about Anthony signals a change in policy from earlier this summer, when it rebuffed such calls.

Given those wishes, they say, the New Jersey Nets have emerged as the front-runners to land Anthony, with one rival executive trying to acquire Anthony telling ESPN "it's tough" to put together an offer that matches or exceeds New Jersey's. As Ford and Stein point out, the Nets can offer power forward Derrick Favors, the third overall pick in this summer's Draft; power forward Troy Murphy, a productive veteran whose $11.9 million contract expires next summer; reserve power forward Kris Humphries; and the future draft picks the Nuggets desire.

Rumors linking Anthony and the Orlando Magic have circulated all summer. Yet it's clear that the Magic don't have attractive enough assets to satisfy the Nuggets in a potential deal for Anthony, whose scoring average of 28.2 points per game last season ranked third in the league.

Based on what the Nuggets reportedly want, my opinion is that the best trade package the Magic can put together includes 22-year-old power forward Ryan Anderson, veteran shooting guard Vince Carter, $3 million in cash, and multiple future draft picks. Though Anderson doesn't have star power, he's remarkably productive given his age. In the Nuggets' wide-open offense, he could thrive. Carter would provide Denver with some scoring punch in a rebuilding year, but the main draw is his "semi-expiring" contract; as I explained in July, only $4 million of his salary is guaranteed next season, and a prospective new team could waive him next summer to wipe all but $4 million of it off their books. The $3 million sent to the Nuggets in this hypothetical trade represents the maximum dollar amount that can be conveyed in a single NBA transaction, and in theory would be used to cover most of Carter's guarantee. In June, I wrote in greater detail about Orlando's trade assets.

After ESPN Insider published this post by Tom Haberstroh, Anthony became a somewhat polarizing player in the statistical community. Haberstroh found that Anthony's volume scoring masks the inefficient manner in which he gets his points, as well as his glaring deficiencies in every other facet of the game.

A seven-year veteran, Anthony owns career averages of 24.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals.

The bottom line as far as this site is concerned? Orlando doesn't appear to be in the mix for Anthony anymore, if it ever was in the first place.

And yes, I have indeed read comments here critical of, or indifferent to, my decision to continue posting on Anthony. To be clear, I only write these Anthony-centered updates due to his appearing in Magic rumors earlier this summer. Had those never shown up, I would not continue to follow Anthony's story.

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