Nuggets official: Melo won't be traded

Updated: July 6, 2010, 12:35 AM ET
By Chris Broussard | ESPN The Magazine

Carmelo Anthony will be a member of the Denver Nuggets next season -- whether he accepts the team's offer of a contract extension or not.

With speculation that Denver may trade their All-Star forward growing over the past week, a high-ranking Nuggets official said the club has no intentions of moving its best player.

"There is no way we are trading Carmelo Anthony," the official said. "We're 100 percent certain of that."

[+] EnlargeCarmelo Anthony
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesCarmelo Anthony has until July 1, 2011 to accept the Nuggets' three-year, $65 million offer, which team officials are confident he will sign.

Anthony can opt out of his contract after next season and become a free agent, one year after other top members of his draft class have potentially turned this summer into the most volatile in league history.

To avoid that scenario, the Nuggets have offered Anthony a three-year, $65 million contract extension that would keep him in Denver until 2015.

Anthony has plenty of financial incentives to sign the deal because the league will have a new collective bargaining agreement after next season that is expected to be far less lucrative for players.

So by declining Denver's offer, Anthony could be leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table.

That's a major reason the Nuggets are confident that Anthony will sign their extension offer. Many executives around the league believe he will sign it as well. Under league rules, Anthony has until July 1, 2011 to accept the offer. The Nuggets official said Denver will not impose its own earlier deadline on Anthony.

If Anthony doesn't accept the offer, it would seemingly be a sign that he doesn't want to continue his career in Denver.

The New York Knicks are counting on that. Last week, they called Denver to inquire about trading for Anthony, only to be quickly rebuffed, according to a league source.

Amare Stoudemire, who is reportedly close to signing a five-year, $100 million deal with the Knicks, said Saturday that Anthony wants to play with him in New York. Anthony and Stoudemire are close friends.

Privately, Anthony has told people close to him that he wants to play in New York, according to sources.

The Knicks, who could have enough salary cap room to offer Anthony a maximum-salary contract next season, are using the possibility of signing Anthony in pitches to free agents, most notably LeBron James.

James is intrigued by the idea of possibly teaming up with Stoudemire and Anthony, according to sources, and that possibility has improved the Knicks' chances of landing James.

A good portion of Saturday's meeting between the Knicks assistant general manager Glen Grunwald and James' agent, Leon Rose, was spent covering how exactly the Knicks would clear the necessary payroll to have maximum-salary cap room next summer.

Rose also represents Anthony.

Chris Broussard covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine.