Blog Entry

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

Posted on: September 27, 2010 12:36 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 10:39 pm
Talks of a blockbuster trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Nets gained momentum Monday before getting bogged down again in the Nuggets' indecision, two people familiar with the negotiations told

One person briefed on the complicated, four-team talks described them as "moving along" after a weekend of inertia fueled by Denver's inability to make a final decision on trading its franchise player -- and Anthony's desire to make sure he was doing the right thing by signing off on a deal to New Jersey.

"Talking and waiting," was how another person with knowledge of the negotiations described them.

On Sunday, a person connected to the talks told that there was a "more than 50 percent chance" Anthony is traded in the next 24-48 hours. The momentum gained Monday bolstered that prediction, with most of the focus on the original framework of the deal also involving the Bobcats and Jazz.

But as the discussions dragged on, frustration with the Nuggets' handling of the negotiations was building among the other executives involved in the deal. One person who has been briefed on the talks described the Denver team of GM Masai Ujiri, executive Josh Kroenke and adviser Bret Bearup -- consummating their first trade together -- as "a huge puzzle." A second person familiar with the discussions expressed frustration with "a lot of contingencies" the Nuggets were trying to place on the deal, and a third described the Nuggets as indecisive and hesitant.

Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor, speaking at Utah's media day , said, "If you're going to make that trade, it would've been done Friday."

The Nuggets have done this slow dance before, under different leadership, but the meandering pace of these trade talks has some execs marveling at how some things in Denver haven't changed.

As part of the scenario being discussed for weeks and tabled over the weekend while Denver executives strategized privately and sought other offers, the Nets would send No. 3 pick Derrick Favors and two first-round picks to Denver for Anthony. The Bobcats would get Devin Harris from New Jersey and send Boris Diaw to Utah, which could send Andrei Kirilenko and his $17.8 million expiring contract to Denver. Quinton Ross would go from New Jersey to Utah.

That basic structure "hasn't changed" since Friday, said one person who has been briefed on the talks.

As discussions progressed, however, sources confirmed reports that Utah was trying to get a second-round pick in the deal, and Charlotte was asking for cash or a pick for its involvement. Those issues were "being discussed" Monday, one of the sources said. At the same time, frustration was growing for Utah and Charlotte, although one executive with a hand in the negotiations pointed out that both teams would have something significant to lose if the deal fell apart: Charlotte needs a starting point guard, and Utah needs luxury-tax relief.

The Nuggets, who accelerated trade talks in response to ominous predictions of problems that would result from Anthony staying in Denver, convened for media day Monday -- and Anthony was there. Though that hurdle was far from a drop-dead deadline, it was nonetheless ideal from the Nuggets' standpoint to make considerable progress before being saddled with controversy and drama.

There was no hiding how torn Denver officials were Monday between trying to find a better deal and hoping that Anthony's camp could be persuaded to tamp down its trade rhetoric. After spending the weekend trying to determine if a better deal would emerge -- or if better assets could be acquired from the three other teams currently involved -- the Nuggets reached a tipping point in the most difficult decision a franchise ever has to make. That is one reason Denver tried to explore every angle and wanted to meet in person with Anthony before agreeing to trade him.

One avenue Denver pursued recently in the trade discussions was getting Gerald Wallace from Charlotte in the deal, a person involved in the talks told Monday. But the Bobcats have insisted throughout that they'd only trade Wallace if it meant getting Anthony in the deal, and that's not happening based on Anthony's lack of interest in playing in Charlotte. For the same reason, Denver's interest in the Sixers' Andre Iguodala is a non-starter.

A package featuring No. 2 pick Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, the expiring contract of Jason Kapono and draft picks -- explored previously here -- also fails to pass the Melo test.

As the Nets' discussions continued to develop Monday, sources say one team that is more involved than commonly thought is the Knicks. After New York fell short in its pursuit of LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade, it would be devastating for the Knicks to watch Anthony go to their cross-river rival -- especially since that rival is moving into the city limits to Brooklyn in two years. While Knicks president Donnie Walsh has been in far from panic mode, he has been "working every angle" in an effort to get back in the game with Anthony, according to a rival executive familiar with Walsh's approach.

"He's the master," the executive said. "I'll put it this way: If there's any way to get something done that he feels good about, he'll get it done. He'll leave no stone unturned."


Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:33 pm

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

*By this deal I meant the Nets deal (the only really possible deal), & I wanted to add that this is the best chance for the Nuggets to get some compensation for Melo, otherwise he'll leave them in the dust in Free Agency or they will get less for him as the season progresses 

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:32 pm

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

We know that the Nuggets want Melo, but despite what he said to the media at media day, he also said before that he wants out of Denver.  The Nuggets should just accept that, sign this deal & move on

Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 1:37 pm

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

Why is it puzzling? Because the Nuggets don't want to end up empty handed like Cleveland? Because they want to get everything they can out of this deal? Sorry the Nuggets won't play along with the hype machine created by this psuedo-sport called the NBA. The league is a joke.

Since: Feb 21, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 1:13 pm

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

Your post suggests that you have not been following the drama that is Carmelo Anthony.  Denver has offered him a max three year extension.  If he was all about the money, then he would simply take it.  The story appears to be that Anthony has lost faith in the franchise's willingness to go over the luxury tax threshold to win.  It may also reflect that Anthony no longer cares about winning games as much as championships, and Denver does not look to be heading to the Finals any time soon.  He has watched several top talent level players leave in the last couple of years for what appears to be salary dump purposes.  Allegedly, he thinks he cannot get to the "next level" with Denver, and making the playoffs every year is no longer enough for him. 

His top two choices are Chicago and NY Knicks.  Chicago is seen as a serious upgrade in terms of "winning" and are believed to have the players necessary to win it all if they could allure a top 10 player like Anthony.  As for the Knicks, they just signed Amare and there are these rumors that there is a point guard who is pretty good who wants to join Anthony and Amare in New York to form a competing "big 3" to Miami.

Both of these choices, therefore, appear to be about "winning" and less about the money.  As to the Nets, they are Anthony's third choice, but they have some young players and the buzz is that new ownership is very interested in spending the money it will take to win a championship.  You may think Anthony is putting too much trust in an unknown, but again the move looks to be motivated by a belief that NJ will represent a better chance to win it all in the future than does Denver.

You may not like his choices, you may disagree with his views about each franchises likelihood of winning, but it is about winning to him to a large degree.  He has refused to be traded to several franchises because he does not believe he will win there and is willing to wait out his contract to go to one of his "desired" locations.   

The money, he believes, will be the same everywhere (and he is probably right).  The other issue that might be playing a part is his new wife, who wants to be in a major metropolitan area because she thinks she is in show business. 

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 11:59 am

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

@scoba - If "now" means before the February 2011 trade deadline, then I agree.  If it's time for Carmelo Anthony to "do something" the options immediately at his disposal are to sign the contract extension from the Nuggets, which is a max deal, or to play for the Nuggets until he's traded or the season is over.  I'm not sure if I'm not realizing something or if we just have different points, but my point has to do with the fact that if Melo tries to get to the free agent market, a new CBA may beat him to the punch.  At the end of the day, Melo doesn't have the leverage LeBron James and Dwayne Wade had.  That's my point.  He can hope to get traded, but can't force a trade (he said yesterday he never even asked for a trade).

Just a side note, imagine how whacky the NBA would get if they had a version of the NFL's "Franchise Tag".

Since: Aug 17, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2010 11:44 am

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

I completely agree.  Melo is a great offensive player, but below average defensively.  He just isnt that athletic.  I see him as a younger Paul Pierce.  And we know Pierce couldnt do SQUAT until Garnett and Allen showed up.  New Jersey would be in the same predicament.  So this trade only makes sense if they thinking getting Anthony will mean others (read:  Chris Paul) will follow.  In my opinion, Denver mgmt is a bunch of fools if they dont pull the trigger immediately.  If they wait they'll get nothing.

Since: Apr 30, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 10:34 am

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

You hit the nail on the head, but don't even seem to realize it.

"This was the year of the huge free agent moves while your free agency starts next year amidst what's speculated to be an ugly labor stoppage."

That's exactly the reason to get something done now.

Assume you're an athlete in his prime and you're finally coming in to the one time you'll be able to assume full control of your entire carreer. However, you also understand that the entire league will likely be out of work once that opportunity arises, and you may not even have a contract heading into CBA negotiations.

What limitations could a new CBA potentially place on his ability to maximize dollars in free agency? What cap implications could potentially limit the number of teams capable of signing a player to that sort of deal? What luxury tax changes could limit those destinations even further?

Even if Anthony gets a second chance at free agency down the road, he is unlikely to command the type of contract he could get today. So, now is the time.  If you're heading in to uncertainty the best thing to do is try and secure your situation in advance.

Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 10:28 am

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

If bosh is no superstar, then noone can call amare one. wait to see how he plays without nash. Matrix anyone?

Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: September 28, 2010 10:11 am

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

It is pretty obvious to me that Melo will play out his contract and then sign with the KNICKS in July!  He is good friends with Amare who he hung with recently and I'm sure they talked about playing together in NY and forming their own contender.  Let's not forget, Miami can talk BIG 3, but BOSH is no super star.  He is a complimentary player to the BIG 2 of LeConn and Wade and Knicks have enough cap space to add MELO, even though they lack the trade bait.

Since: Sep 2, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2010 9:06 am

Nuggets' indecision 'a huge puzzle' (UPDATE)

Well I am now more puzzled with the coverage than I am with the trade itself and that is saying something (yep - if I am Denver or Charlotte I do - but if I am Utah or NJ I don't). There is a lot of talk from CBS about trades that wont happen. A bit of talk about trades that are planned but stalled and the most insightful and thoughtful pieces are coming from the CBS community rather than the CBS journalists who are supposed to have access to real people in the know (rather than "one person who has been briefed on the talks". I reckon we all have access to one person who has been briefed on the talks - like Fred at the water cooler, Daphne in the elevator or Scooby out by the fire hydrant. Gives us a break.
As a result, I am making an annoucement to millions of NBA fans, I have made my decision and after a short commecial break I will tell you what it is. (This is where you go to the fridge and grab a cold one, maybe visit the powder room then come back). I am over the Melocoma. It has put me into a stupor that even another of Gilberts brain snaps could not wake from. To Helo with Melo. Bring on the next exciting CBS installment titled "Mahinmi Beach" where Ian Mahinmi discovers that Dallas is not in South Beach and he wants to be traded to join the sunny boys. At least that would be new and interesting.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or