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Carmelo Anthony, Orlando Magic Not Linked in Latest Trade Report

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Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that Denver Nuggets All-Star Carmelo Anthony would prefer Denver deal him to the Chicago Bulls or the New York Knicks. For this site's purposes, the report is more interesting for which team it doesn't mention, rather than the teams it does. Indeed, the Orlando Magic are nowhere to be found in Spears' report, which indicates that ESPN's panel of experts may have been onto something a few weeks ago when it didn't list the Magic among contenders to land Anthony.

Three weeks ago, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that the Magic topped Anthony's list of possible trade destinations. But the talk linking Anthony to the Magic has calmed considerably since then, with teams like the New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, L.A. Clippers--in addition to the Bulls and Knicks--appearing more prominently in the rumor mill.

Anthony ranks fifth among active players in scoring average, with 24.7 points per game. His volume scoring--albeit at mediocre efficiency--has made him one of the league's most prominent players, but he's apparently had enough of Denver and wants to move on. As he can become a free agent next summer, he holds a bit of leverage: the Nuggets may have to deal him if it becomes apparent they'll lose him for nothing as a free agent, and he can discourage a trade to a team he doesn't like by promising not to re-sign with it this summer. A trade partner would thus have to appeal to Anthony while still having enough assets to persuade the Nuggets to make a deal. If you take Berger at his word--and there's no reason not to, really--the idea of playing for a contending team alongside another bona fide superstar is a draw for Anthony. What's far less clear is if the Magic can put together a trade package that'd accommodate the Nuggets.

For more on Anthony, I recommend Eddy Rivera's evaluation at MagicBasketball.net.