by Ryne Nelson

Although strictly hypothetical, Houston and New Jersey can be added to the list of Carmelo Antony’s prospective destinations.

Chris Mannix of SI.com reports that Carmelo would “be open” to signing a long-term contract with one of those teams if he were acquired in a trade:

Multiple league sources familiar with his situation told SI.com that Anthony would also be open to signing a long-term deal with Houston or New Jersey should either of those teams offer the Nuggets an acceptable trade package.

Getting Anthony, 26, to agree to an extension is the key to any deal as he can become a free agent after the 2010-11 season. Denver has offered Anthony a three-year, $65 million extension, but he has balked at signing it and is reportedly looking for a way out.

There’s no reason that Denver has to be in a hurry, and we shouldn’t expect a deal until this February’s trade deadline. Once the Nuggets have checked out all offers, they’ll make a decision, though maintaining their franchise player remains the No. 1 priority.

The Knicks and the Magic are also involved in the current Anthony rumors.