ForwardKenyon Martin, who has yet to play this season following offseason knee surgery, could return as soon as Wednesday at San Antonio or Saturday at Oklahoma City. And both guard Chauncey Billups, who has been out the past three games with a wrist injury, and center Chris Andersen, out since Dec. 3 with a back injury, are expected back for the San Antonio game.
The Nuggets are 16-10 despite those injuries this season. Before team officials pull any trigger and deal Anthony, they want to see what his mindset would be and how the Nuggets will look when they have a full cast.“
Perhaps the Nuggets want to prove to Anthony that with all their players healthy, the team could compete for a title, in hopes he would decide to stay in Denver. What is perplexing, however, is that the players the team is waiting on to get healthy (Billups, Andersen, Martin) have all been on the team in for the last couple of seasons. Anthony knows what they (and he together) are capable of.
If it is not fully assumed that Anthony wants out of Denver by now, his curiousity to do so is fully peaked after not signing a contract extension. Aside from Al Harrington, the Nuggets have had the same major components to their team the last few seasons. While they have been a contending team, perhaps the lack of a legitimate second star, as well as the small market location, are too devastating for ‘Melo to overlook.
With all due respect, it is not going to be Al Harrington who lifts the Nuggets over the hump to compete with teams like the Lakers and the Spurs, if they are not at that level already.
While as the days progress, it seems more and more unlikely the Nuggets will retain ‘Melo (regardless of where he ends up), the the team should be taking a nod from the various teams, who in the last few seasons chose to make massive improvements when their main stars were unhappy: the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to appease Paul Pierce, the Lakers nabbed Pau Gasol to be Kobe Bryant’s partner in crime, and most recently (this past week), the Magic brought in Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson to Orlando in hopes of elevating the team to convince Dwight Howard to stay with the team after 2012.
Eventually, one would think the Knicks will have to do something similar to keep Amar’e Stoudemire motivated at some point (should the Knicks not continue to make strides as a team), but Donnie Walsh and company are certainly looking to get a head start by potentially acquiring Anthony in the near future.