Carmelo Anthony(notes) wants out of Denver, and World Wide Wes delivered that message to the Nuggets with all the delicacy of a jackhammer at Sunday morning services. Do yourself a favor and trade him, the agent told the organization weeks ago.
Carmelo Anthony has made it clear to the Nuggets he wants a change of scenery.
(NBAE/ Getty Images)
Denver was furnished with a short list of teams and told to get to work. Yes, this how William Wesley and Leon Rose of CAA work now, thick with threats and ultimatums and a swagger suggesting that the sport belongs to them. After Anthony told owner-in-waiting Josh Kroenke that he still wanted out of Denver during a Sunday meeting, the Nuggets appear done trying to sell their All-Star forward on a contract extension.
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This wasn’t a productive, nor particularly pleasant, meeting and multiple sources said it could turn out to be the point of no return for Anthony and the organization. Sources insist it’s no longer a matter of if the Nuggets trade Anthony, but when, where and for whom he’s traded for.
“It’s almost a given they’re going to move him,” said a front-office executive who’s talked with the Nuggets and Anthony’s agents with CAA.
Between the agents’ bullying and Anthony’s dismissive disposition in Sunday’s meeting, sources said Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, Josh’s father, finally made a stand with CAA.
Keep it up, and the Nuggets will never do a deal for one of your clients again.
Try to dictate terms of a trade and we won’t move him.
Keep up the heavy-handedness and you’ll get a war.
Kroenke has decided to deal with CAA in a way most of the league is too fearful to try. Leon Rose, the agent who works with Wesley, backed down, sources said, and is willing to be more open-minded on potential trade destinations. Anthony wants to leave Denver and get his three-year, $65 million contract extension now. This partnership is rounding third and rapidly reaching disrepair. Denver is willing to trade Anthony, J.R. Smith(notes) and Kenyon Martin(notes), and start over again, sources said.
The Nuggets made it clear to teams they want young players and draft picks for Anthony, league executives said. The New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as the two most probable destinations for Anthony because they have assets that appeal to Denver. The geography works for Anthony because of his wife LaLa Vazquez’s entertainment career.
Golden State and Houston are contenders, too. What’s more, the Charlotte Bobcats are a sleeper because of Anthony’s Brand Jordan shoe deal and the team’s ability to give the Nuggets a salary-dump proposal.
Back in mid-July, the Kroenkes had to travel to New York for Anthony’s wedding to finally realize he no longer intended to sign their extension offer. The reception spiraled into an evening of Chris Paul(notes) and Anthony’s brother making toasts about a future partnership for Anthony and Paul in New York with the Knicks. With nothing to trade for Anthony, though, New York isn’t considered a strong contender in the eyes of Denver management.
Few can be as strong-minded and willful as Stan Kroenke, and it doesn’t matter the Nuggets will be turned over to his son Josh by the end of the year. Stan still will be lording over the franchise, and the billionaire has shown an old-school ability to carry through on his convictions once you’ve lost him as an ally.
With the way that CAA has tried to muscle and manipulate the market this summer, a source said Stan Kroenke, freshly approved as the St. Louis Rams owner, feels further emboldened in the NBA’s collective bargaining talks to push for a “franchise player” tag that teams could slap on superstars like the one the NFL uses. NBA owners are still far from seriously discussing that issue, but CAA’s manipulation of Anthony and Paul while under contract has become an increasingly sore subject within the league.
For now, the departure of Denver general manager Mark Warkentien and the increased influence of Kroenke advisor Bret Bearup means there won’t be much of a fight within the organization to stay the course with Anthony, sources said. Denver has hired Masai Ujiri as its new GM, but he doesn’t arrive with the authority to make major moves. Things have deteriorated too fast and grown too nasty to believe Denver will turn back now. ‘Melo is on the market, and the bidding has begun.