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: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:38 pm

Melo talks 'moving along' (UPDATE)

"He wants to go to the Knicks.  An organization who had all the dysfunction of Isiah Thomas, Eddie Curry, Stefon Marbury, Nate Robinson and the incomporable Donnie Walsh.  You want more dysfunction and to move further from a title chance?"

Wow, hater much???

You're talking of the Knicks of old....our new team is a potential playoff team already....

Knicks-plus-Carmelo are way better than the Nuggets-minus-melo, so what's your point?  He's not going to LA, that's Kobe's town. Plus, Amar'e will be the BEST sidekick Carmelo has had...You name me ONE person who compares on Denver's roster???? Aside from Melo, their best player is an aging Chauncy Billups.  Stop the hating and kiss Melo GOODBYE!!!! hahahahhahahahahaha!

Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:30 pm

Melo talks 'moving along' (UPDATE)

Are the NETS and the new Coaching staff and ownership so disenchanted with Devin Harris that they would trade him so soon after making him a focal point in the Jason Kidd deal? A couple of seasons ago Harris looked like an up and coming star for the Nets. I like the pairing of Melo and Lopez but there's no one to get them the basketball unless Avery Johnson plans on suiting up.The Nets should say "no" on Melo and continue their process of adding young talent to the roster. Lopez, Harris, Murphy and Favors (who looks like he can be a force in a couple of years) can be asolid core. Don't rip the team up just to sell seats.

Since: Apr 28, 2008
Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:11 pm

Melo talks 'moving along' (UPDATE)

I just dont see Melo going to the Nets after they trade the things that make them an "improving" team. Its not gonna be a good team, if they give up that much. Carmelo is my fav player but that wouldnt be a good move.

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:08 pm

Melo talks 'moving along'

It's no secret that the two headed GM monster in Denver that was finally slain this summer was a mess.  Outside of that since Carmelo was drafted in 2003 the Nuggets have made a lot of moves the majority of which had Carmelo Anthony's best interests in mind.  They brought in a hall of fame coach in George Karl.  They had the cap space to pay a max deal to a top free agent.  Unfortunately the best free agent was Kobe Bryant and he wasn't exactly a fan favorite with his activities in Vail, Colorado that year, not to mention that it's highly doubtful he would have ever left the Lakers for Nuggets under any circumstances.  So the Nuggets picked up Kenyon Martin.  In his defense, K-Mart was coming off an NBA Finals appearance and seemed to have a fairly good athletic upside.  The Nuggets swung the Allen Iverson deal and he arrived in Denver just in time to spell Carmelo Anthony who was suspended for slapping a Knick in MSG.  The Nuggets brought in the young Brazilian, Nene, and he was snake bit with a knee injury, a thumb tear, and nut cancer.  The Nuggets brought in Chauncey Billups and Ty Lawson.  They brought in the knucklehead J.R. Smith who drives me nuts, but has never seemed to not get along with Melo.  The Nuggets basically still have the roster that went to the Western Conference finals two years ago.  For a team with a lot of talent and success there certainly is a lot of black cloud around them.  And at the end of the day I have to ask myself, "Is Melo totally nuts?".  He wants to go to the Knicks.  An organization who had all the dysfunction of Isiah Thomas, Eddie Curry, Stefon Marbury, Nate Robinson and the incomporable Donnie Walsh.  You want more dysfunction and to move further from a title chance?  Then go play for the Knicks Melo.  You want to win titles?  So go to the Nets team that almost matched the Chicago Bulls record in inverse by challenging to lose 72 games in a season.  I'm sure that last years 12 wins and the fact the Nets are competing against a stacked Eastern Conference with the Heat, Bulls, Celtics and Magic is going to place you right into contention for a title in New Jersey/Brooklyn.

The truth is, of the currently available locations, Melo is unlikely to end up in a better situation to win than Denver.  If he wants to be a celebrity and live in California or New York that's different, but the guy is a basketball player and his commitment should be to that career.  You're late to the party Melo.  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.  If Melo does leave, I think the ideal destination is actually LA with the Clippers.  Barron Davis is great when healthy, Eric Gordon is a nice young talent, Blake Griffon may be a phenom and Chris Kaman has some very under rated aggression.  I think the situation stinks and I hate to see Melo leave Denver.  He has an avid fan base here that has never stopped supporting him throughout a few indiscretions (DUI, pot at the airport, the New York Slap, not Snitches, etc.) but I will continue to root for him even if he does leave Denver.

Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:07 pm

Melo talks 'moving along'

This just sounds like Denver is giving up too much, pretty much their future for the next 3 years. Also it's rare to see a player willing to go from a team than can compete to a team that will not make the playoffs especially with what they're giving up. I think in a few years he will be tired of losing and ask for a trade again.

You know the point where players realize they only have few prime years left and now it's all about winning. It's a shame he can't see that now.

Since: May 14, 2010
Posted on: September 27, 2010 12:56 pm

Melo talks 'moving along'

I have not followed the Nets, so my question is if they get rid of the players and the number 1's that they are trading will they have enough to reload and be better? Would they be better off keeping Favors and their draft picks? Someone that knows the team please let me know.

Since: Feb 15, 2007
Posted on: September 27, 2010 12:54 pm

Melo talks 'moving along'

Berger, I will bet you any amount of money that the Nets won't trade Harris, Favors and two #1s for Anthony.

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