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Orlando Magic Still Among Carmelo Anthony's Preferred Trade Destinations

The rumors surrounding the apparently unhappy Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, a three-time All-Star and one of the league's most dynamic scorers, won't cease until he agrees to an extension with the Nuggets, or until they trade him. And the latest word is that the Orlando Magic are among the four teams to which he'd agree to be dealt.

Kate Fagan, on the 76ers beat for the Philadelphia Inquirer, did some digging in the wake of Ken Berger's report earlier this week that Philadelphia had entered the bidding for Anthony. While she shot that part of the rumor down, she did learn the Magic, Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets, and New York Knicks have made Anthony's shortlist of destinations.

In this regard, nothing has changed: the Magic are on his list, but there's no indication that Orlando is even interested, or has made an offer. But I do think it's interesting to see the contrast between Orlando and his other preferred destinations. The Nets are two years away from moving to Brooklyn and rising to prominence on the national level, the Knicks play in the capital of the known universe, and the Bulls also play in a rather large market. But the Magic? No, they're a small-market team. Which means the appeal of playing alongside another superstar in Dwight Howard trumps any concern he has about a small market hurting his brand. The fact that Florida doesn't have any state income tax could also be a factor in his listing the Magic.

Though Anthony does not have a no-trade clause in his contract--the only players who have that rare power are Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki--he does have some leverage in trade discussions because of his impending free agency. Should the Nuggets talk an Anthony trade with a team in which Anthony has no interest, he can make it clear that he would not sign an extension with that team. So Denver is under some pressure to deal him to a team of which he approves, lest they lose him in free agency next summer with no compensation in return.