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: Dec 15, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2010 6:33 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

The Nuggets seem as if they wanna clean house while thats all good in well you can't expect teams to be willingly helpful in you trying to get rid of your trash. Now Melo I can understand only if they would accept a suitable offer instead of wanting all these draft picks and Kenyon can probably help a team by using his veteran presense, but for the time being Melo is still a Nugget and no one wants to keep talking bout especially when the season is so near either put up or shut up Denver, sabotage your season not anyone elses.

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 6:13 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

It's too bad the Memphis Grizzlies are no longer looking to give their franchise away for free.  If the Nuggets got the Laker's Special then they would send J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin and their garbage expiring contracts to the Grizzlies for Marc Gasol and the Nuggets would just keep a happy Carmelo Anthony who would finally have a true center to fight the Lakers with.  Of course only the Lakers get to turn Kwame Brown, Jarvis Crittenton, and Aaron McKie into a future hall of fame center in Pau Gasol.  The NBA not only permits patently unfair trades like Pau Gasol going to the Lakers and Bosh and LeBron going to Miami, it celebrates them.  It was fun to have an exciting team in Denver for a while, but at the end of the day this just isn't likely to be a championship NBA city anytime soon.  The Lakers and Boston have won more than half of the titles in NBA history because they've got the mystic and smarts to keep bringing in talent.  It's a horribly imbalanced league.  You may as well keep Melo around for one more year, or at least until close to the February 2011 trade deadline, and see what happens, because nothing coming back in a trade is putting bodies in Pepsi Center seats anytime soon anyway.

Since: Mar 5, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 5:42 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Nothing?  Nuggets were offered 3 first rounders one of which was the third overall pick this year...   Cleveland got 2 future 1st rounders for Lebron.  Check your facts.

Since: Oct 25, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2010 5:40 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Your right sportsdvl, maybe teams should offer the same as the Lakers offered for Pau bad Jerry West doesn't run the Nuggets..........The real problem here is Denver is NEVER going to get back equal value for him especially since he has NO desire to resign there and other teams know it. The Knicks, the team he wants to play for, have NO assets unless you think Eddie Curry's contract is one and 2nd round draft picks are another. Denver will HAVE to move him before the year is out because they don't want to end up like Cleveland and Toronto and that's getting nothing in return. Melo will want to sign this year because rumors have it that the "max" salaries might go down from 30% of the cap to 20% and the guaranteed years as well. He'll make more money signing this year and he knows it. Unless the Bulls decide that Noah is available or Melo decides he'll play in another place besides NY, Chicago or even NJ where other teams might have better players to offer, the Nuggets are going to get lesser value back.

Since: Sep 16, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2010 5:39 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Suns should deal for Melo. Then as Nash, Hill, JR, and Martin's $$$ goes off the books Suns can build anything needed around Melo. Sure if Amare was still there it would be done deal...but maybe they can do something.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2010 5:23 pm

Four-way deal dead, but talks will continue

Why would the Nuggets just give him away, which is in essence what the proposed 4 way deal would have done.  And for the Jazz and Bobcats to be involved is just plain silly.  Sure wasn't a deal for either of them.

The Nuggets have to get something substatial for Carmelo Anthony.  They can't just get cap relief.  They aren't the Lakers getting rid of Shaq but they still have Kobe.  Why would any Nuggets fan go to a game if they get crap in return for their best player.

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