Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan has had direct negotiations with Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke, indicating that a trade could be closer to happening, the New York Daily News reported on Tuesday.
But the newspaper also reported that one of the rumored components of a New York-Denver deal, Knicks forward Wilson Chandler, is experiencing discomfort in his surgically repaired left ankle and may need surgery during the offseason. It would be his third procedure in three years.
Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, however, said Tuesday morning that Chandler "should be 100 percent" healthy. He referred to the ankle and calf injuries that sidelined Chandler for three games recently as "normal wear and tear." The coach added that, to his knowledge, Chandler would not need offseason surgery on his ankle.
Adding to the hurdles of a trade Tuesday morning, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that the Nuggets have had initial talks with the Lakers about Anthony, with Los Angeles center Andrew Bynum anchoring a potential deal.
Ownership involvement in trade talks between the Knicks and Nuggets could mean that they have become more serious, however.
"And I would also think that at this point everyone is looking to take credit if Carmelo comes to New York," one Knicks source said, according to the newspaper.
When the Nets were deep in talks with the Nuggets about acquiring Anthony, New Jersey owner Mikhail Prokhorov was going to sit down with the All-Star, but that discussion never took place and Prokhorov tabled all talks.
The latest Anthony deal involves New York, Denver and Minnesota, sources told Broussard Saturday.
In the deal, the Knicks would land Anthony. The Nuggets would receive Chandler, the Timberwolves' Corey Brewer and a Minnesota first-round pick. The Timberwolves would get the expiring deal of Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks.
But ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher later reported Minnesota wouldn't approve of the deal as proposed but would need to make some changes.
The Knicks would presumably need Anthony to sign an extension for any deal to be consummated.
Knicks president Donnie Walsh was unavailable for comment after practice Tuesday.
Chandler would be the most polished piece Denver would get in the trade. He is averaging 16.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in his fourth season. But he has played a full season only once and is a restricted free agent July 1.
He's not excited about being shipped out.
"I'd like to stay," Chandler said on Sunday, according to the newspaper. "I like the city. I like being here. I like being part of this team. Even with the trade talk, I should be able to focus. I'll put it out of my mind. That's what I will try to do, even if my name is out there."
D'Antoni didn't believe the most recent trade rumors would affect the fourth-year forward.
"We all know the situation. We all know what we're getting into when you come to the Knicks and you've got to deal with it," D'Antoni said. "And you have to hone in and play ball and cut off all kinds of distractions. There are distractions everywhere. He's doing a good job."
Chandler wasn't available for comment after Tuesday's practice.
But teammate Amare Stoudemire said that it's only natural for players to wonder about potential trades when their names or their teams are involved in rumors.
"You always wonder, 'What's going on?' But you can't let that affect your game and affect your professionalism," Stoudemire said. "You still have to play the game of basketball. You have a game to play, you have teammates depending on you. So you have to stay professional."
Anthony scored 50 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the Nuggets' 108-103 loss to the Rockets on Monday night. He has made it clear that he'd like to play in New York.
The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 24.
ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley contributed to this report.