Blog Entry

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Posted on: September 28, 2010 4:22 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 11:24 pm
The Carmelo Anthony saga moved to the next phase Tuesday, with the Nets trying to provide more cap relief to the Nuggets by finding a new home for Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith, has learned.

It was a futile effort to revive this excruciatingly slow-moving blockbuster, which died Tuesday in its current form involving the Bobcats and Jazz. Sources say discussions will continue, however, on other fronts amid mixed priorities within the Denver front office and some lingering doubts about whether Melo will ultimately give his thumbs-up on a trade to New Jersey.

“I think he’s thumbs-sideways on it,” said one source familiar with Anthony’s stance. “He’s not 100 percent sold on it.”

Martin, whose $16.5 million expiring contract would be a valuable asset at the trade deadline, and Smith, who has a $6.8 million expiring deal and controversy wherever he goes, could be the final pieces that eventually compel the Nuggets to sign off on a divorce with Anthony. But that divorce isn't happening with the structure of the exhaustively reported four-way deal involving Utah and Charlotte. That framework, a person involved in the discussions said, is "dead." The Melo talks as a whole, however, will trudge forward.

If more cap savings is what the Nuggets want, they'd only have to take back $17.5 million under NBA trade rules for Martin and Smith, a savings of $5.8 million – twice that when you factor in luxury tax. Numerous scenarios have been explored to allow the Nuggets to send out both Martin and Smith, sources say. But despite a growing belief that the Nuggets finally are ready to acknowledge that a truce with Anthony is unattainable, conflicting priorities among Denver decision-makers have put a chill in the discussions for now.

“Denver keeps moving the goal posts,” said one person connected to the talks. “They say, ‘We want this,’ and New Jersey says, ‘We got it.’ And then Denver says, ‘Wait a minute, we want this and this.’”

Around and around they went, several weeks after the basic framework of the deal was hatched by old friends Kevin O’Connor, Larry Brown and Billy King. Sources say those three did the legwork on the four-team possibility involving New Jersey, Denver, Charlotte and Utah and brought it to the Nuggets as a potentially attractive way for them to part ways with their disgruntled superstar. O’Connor, the Jazz GM, is a former assistant coach under Brown at UCLA. Brown, the Bobcats’ coach, has known King, the Nets’ news president, since his college days at Duke – and the two worked together in Philadelphia.

Ironically, one person familiar with the negotiations said the deal probably would’ve been done by now if Charlotte hadn’t waived center Erick Dampier and his non-guaranteed $13 million contract – which would’ve been a home-run for Denver in an exchange for Martin. Including Dampier in the deal would’ve provided what a source described as “ridiculous savings” for the Nuggets – about $33 million when factoring in the tax, making the deal “a no-brainer.”

UPDATE: In the absence of that asset, the Nuggets – led by newly hired GM Masai Ujiri, 30-year-old executive Josh Kroenke and adviser Bret Bearup – insisted on trying to squeeze more out of the deal while also exploring offers from other teams. In addition to Martin and Smith, Denver officials eventually were trying to dump Renaldo Balkman in the trade. Ultimately, one executive involved in the talks said, Denver's never-ending efforts to make the deal better for them was what wound up killing it.

The other part of their protracted strategy – sitting down face-to-face with Anthony before media day Monday – may have backfired on them, too.

Ujiri, trying to take the high road in the Anthony matter, insisted on meeting with him in person before signing off on the deal – as any new GM would. Unfortunately for Ujiri, Anthony’s discontent with the direction of the organization pre-dates the new GM’s arrival – and also runs deeper than Ujiri was aware. One reason Ujiri declined to give any details of his face-to-face encounter with Anthony Monday, according to two people familiar with the exchange, was simply that there were no details. Anthony, not wanting to rehash old wounds with his new boss, politely declined to engage Ujiri in any substantive conversation about his future.

“He said, ‘I’m cool,’ and, ‘You’re going to have to talk to my reps about that,’” said one of the people familiar with the meeting. In addition, multiple reports indicated that Anthony did not participate in the promotional activities players typically perform on media day, and the Denver Post noted that his image was removed from a prominent ad on the Nuggets’ website – replaced by Ty Lawson.

As a result, one source maintained Tuesday that the Nuggets were “going to move him, like now, ASAP.” But after all the delays and frustration on all sides, that may be an optimistic take.

"The Nuggets are going to look at every single trade and they’re going to have to work with [Anthony]," another person familiar with the talks said. "And that’s really going to slow the whole process down.”

Further complicating matters, sources say Karl is not going to be as influential in trying to keep Anthony in Denver as first believed. With the departure of Karl’s biggest supporter, former GM Mark Warkentien, and his top assistant, Tim Grgurich, Karl is unsure where he stands in the organization as he returns from his heroic cancer fight with one year left on his contract. The result has been tension – or at least uneasiness – among Karl, his staff and the newly formed front office. Plus, while Karl knows that he has a 50-win playoff team with Anthony and a rebuilding team without him, sources say the 59-year-old coach is growing tired of the MeloDrama and isn’t relishing the strain that it could place on him and the team.


Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2010 12:37 am

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Carmelo is a very good player & this 4 team trade always sounded way to complicated to get done quickly....

I am a Golden State Warrior Season ticket holder & am sure hoping that the story that was reported in Denver Post doesnt happen, I would hate to see Warriors trade Curry & Biedrins for Melo... He is a small forward & great scorer but so what we have had lots of 3s who can score... Keep Curry! 

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: September 29, 2010 12:08 am

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Maybe not with this deal, but unless the Bulls start shopping Joakim Noah, which seems unlikely, the Nets are still the frontrunner to get Melo via trade

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2010 10:25 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

You're talking out of both sides of your face.  You say that Marc Gasol is a good enough player to keep Melo happy, but then you criticize the Lakers deal for Pau Gasol.  You should check your facts.  The Lakers traded Marc Gasol to Memphis as part of the Pau Gasol trade.  So, I guess that trade wasn't so lopsided after all, huh?  The Grizzlies lost 2.7 points and 2 rebounds per game according to 2009 stats by trading down from Pau to Marc, and they got tons of cap relief.  But you're right, that was highway robbery.  Clearly, you're just a Laker-hater.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2010 10:19 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Give it up Berger. The Netsa won't pull this off. Carmelo either winds up with the Knicks now, or next year. The Nets will go to Brooklyn and their franchise will die.

Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2010 8:58 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

I agree as a die hard Knick fan I wish he was coming to NY, but how in the WORLD do you not take Favors, Karilinko and 2 first round picks?...From the Nets of all teams meaning those picks are top 15 picks. In saying that, I Carmello wouldn't sign the extension. How people are not saying that is mind boggling, so I will.....THE REASON THE NUGGETS ARE NOT PULLING THE TRIGGER ON THIS DEAL IS BECAUSE MELO WILL NOT SIGN AN EXTENSION TO GO TO THE NETS.    Is that hard to believe? good all, and what I wrote was fact!

Since: Feb 21, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 8:49 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Suns have let star player after star player leave over money.  Just ask Amare and the freak.  Why then would you think they would go after Melo when they know he wants a max type extension, and why would Melo agree to move from Denver (where his chief complaint is they do not spend enough to keep their best players) to the Suns.  Besides the fact that the Suns would be a better team with Melo, and you are a Suns fan, how does this situation make any sense?  Also, what exactly are you going to offer Denver, late first round picks because your team makes the playoffs but just is not good enough to win it all?

Since: May 2, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2010 8:07 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

sportsdvl - Giving him away?  Are you kidding?  They would be getting Favors, Kirilenko and 2 1st round picks for a guy that they are going to lose for nothing next summer.  They are idiots for passing up on that.  I guarantee they won't get as good a deal anywhere else.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 7:09 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

The Nets are dumb for stopping this trade, & the Nuggets are gonna realize how dumb they are when Favors turns out to be a superstar & they lose Melo to nothing or a lot less.  

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 6:56 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

I would shocked if a deal happened before the trade deadline.  What team is going to be able to put together such a package, even with the help of another team, to pull a top 5-10 player in trade?  In the end, I just don't think a suitable package for a player of his ability exists....If I was in the Nuggets GM's shoes, I would hold on to Melo as long as possible and milk the ticket sales out of him while I can.  And then let him go at the end of the year, see what the new CBA brings, and start new.  Who knows what the new CBA will bring?
As for Smith and Kenyon, while they are decent role players and all, I would get them out ASAP and get as much back in return.  

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2010 6:39 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

This is the best posting I've ever read about the NBA.  Period...

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