The Nuggets exercised a fourth-year option on F Carmelo Anthony's contract, ensuring that he will spend at least one more season with the team.

Anthony, the third overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft, is under contract with the Nuggets through the end of the 2006-07 season.

He helped lead Denver to playoff appearances in each of the last two seasons and has averaged 20.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in his first two seasons.

* FORD STAYING: The Bucks exercised a one-year option on the contract of G T.J. Ford, keeping him in Milwaukee through the 2006-07 season.

Ford was the eighth overall selection of the 2003 draft and made the all-rookie second team despite missing the last 26 games of the season with a bruised spinal cord. He sat out the 2004-05 season after undergoing cervical spine surgery.

"T.J. is a dynamic player and a key to our success going forward," GM Larry Harris said in a statement. "He has worked tirelessly to get himself back on the court and demonstrated in the preseason that he's ready to help lead our team."

The 22-year-old Ford, cleared to return in June, averaged 14.8 points and 5.8 assists in in six preseason games. He capped exhibition play with a 22-point, 10-assist effort against Denver.

* PODKOLZIN OUT: Dallas C Pavel Podkolzin could miss up to four months after a stress fracture was discovered in his right foot.

The 7-foot-5 native of Russia is scheduled to have surgery next week.

* MOVES: The Clippers waived F Rodney White, who was signed as a free agent Oct. 5 and averaged 8.8 points in eight preseason games. . . . The Hornets waived F George Lynch, who averaged 3.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 44 games last year but didn't appear in any exhibiton games this season.

* WARD HIRED: The Rockets hired former G Charlie Ward as an assistant coach.

The Heisman Trophy winner from Florida State averaged 6.3 points, 4 assists and 1.23 steals in 11 NBA seasons.

* SAMPSON PLEA: Ralph Sampson, the former University of Virginia standout and top pick in the 1983 draft, pleaded guilty to felony charges of failure to pay more than $300,000 in court-ordered child support.

-- From News Services

The Nuggets extended Carmelo Anthony's contract through the 2006-07 season.