Blog Entry

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

Posted on: January 19, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 7:18 pm
Mikhail Prokhorov has walked away from the Carmelo Anthony trade talks. Who are the winners and losers, and how does this decision impact Anthony's future? Posted by Ben Golliver. mikhail-prokhorov

Are the New Jersey Nets ready to give up their pursuit of Denver Nuggets All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony? 

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who was expected to meet with Anthony this week, addressed the ongoing trade talks with the media during a Wednesday press conference prior to New Jersey's game against the Utah Jazz, saying that he has had enough and that his organization would stop its pursuit of Anthony. 

Ken Berger of has your on-scene report. reported that Prokhorov summarized his reasoning simply: "It's been too long and too expensive." reported on Twitter  that there would be no turning back. "Wow. Prokhorov tells Nets to walk away from Carmelo deal ... says decision is final."

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Prokhorov would not even meet with Anthony as expected. 
"There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive," said Prokhorov, who acknowledged that he is not happy with how the proposed deal played out. "I am instructing our team to walk away from the deal. And the meeting which was supposed to be held by our management tomorrow in Denver with Carmelo is hereby cancelled."
The Associated Press also noted that Prokhorov was not happy with the public nature of the negotiations.
"I'm not happy with the way ... this deal has gone until now," said Prokhorov. "It has taken too long. It has been played out in public and it certainly has taken a toll on the players and I believe that it has cost us several games. I think management did a great job.."

Here's video of the press conference, courtesy of YouTube user RickieRich1.

This qualifies as a shocking turn of events, as the Nets have aggressively pursued Anthony since last summer and reportedly nearly landed him twice, once in a four-team blockbuster scenario involving the Utah Jazz and Charlotte Bobcats before the season started and again in January, when a three-team trade scenario involving the Detroit Pistons was close. 

On Monday,'s Ken Berger reported that Anthony wasn't particularly keen on the idea of meeting with the Nets and there have long been questions about whether Anthony would agree to sign an extension with New Jersey if traded. 

Back in December, my NBA Facts & Rumors colleague Matt Moore argued that the Nets should bail on the Anthony trade talks because the price was getting too exorbitant. 

Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that the Chicago Bulls may be entering the Anthony sweepstakes.
As trade discussions with the New Jersey Nets stall, the representatives for Carmelo Anthony(notes) are engaging the Chicago Bulls with hopes of pushing them into becoming a serious bidder for the Denver Nuggets star, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.
What should we take from today's revelation? Anthony's personal influence and power has been underrated through the last six months, if that's possible. Anthony is functioning as an independent entity here, on par with (if not more powerful than) the organizations trading him and trying to trade for him. Meeting his interests are just important to accomplishing a trade as making sure Denver and New Jersey are both satisfied. 

With New Jersey out of the picture, Denver is left scrambling, as the New York Knicks are the only remaining buyer with the ability to help the Nuggets achieve their goal of getting younger, shedding salary and stocking future assets. They are apparently also the only team that meets Anthony's desire to play in the New York City area, his hometown. Unlike New Jersey, however, New York is not prepared to compromise its present and mortgage its future to land Anthony, leaving Denver up a creek. It's possible we just watched the Anthony trade chip depreciate by 20% or more this afternoon. 

The hold up continues to be Anthony's refusal to sign a contract extension with just anyone. Denver may need to turn to a much less desirable Plan B, trading Anthony without his agreement to an extension. This would come at significant cost, as Anthony's trade value without an extension is much lower, but it would be better than losing him outright this summer. The Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets have been rumored to have interest in a rental scenario. (For more on the Bulls angle, click here.)

Meanwhile, the Knicks are now free to low-ball the Nuggets to their heart's desire, knowing that their diminished offers for Anthony with an extension will likely still trump the offers of other teams trying to trade for Anthony without an extension. For that reason, if we had to guess right now, Anthony's most likely destination should he move before the trade deadline will be the Knicks. It's been reported that Denver isn't crazy about the pieces New York has put on the trading block: Eddy Curry, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, etc. It's time for the Nuggets to take a good, long, hard second look. 

Since: Mar 2, 2009
Posted on: January 20, 2011 11:06 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

I find it funny that people think Nuggets management was too greedy.  Bargaining is all about getting as much as you can for your assets.  Had Melo been willing to sign a contract extension with the Nets, Denver would have gotten Favors, expiring contracts and a couple of 1st round picks.  You might consider that outrageous, but it would have happened.

What scotched this deal was Melo's unwillingness to sign the extension, pure and simple.  It would have been nice of him to tell the Nuggets that months ago instead of letting his representatives create the impression that it was possible.  Given what we've heard, my guess is that the following is what actually happened. 

Nuggets management granted the Nets the right to contact Melo because they'd hammered out the firm outlines of a deal.  This essentially put Melo on the spot.  He tried to act like he couldn't talk to the Nets because it would be tampering and he was a loyal Nugget.  But, it clearly wasn't tempering and when the press told him that he got defensive and said he wasn't talking to anyone.  So, the Nets tried to contact Melo to arrange a conversation with Prokhorov and Melo basically gave them the cold shoulder. (My guess is he didn't even have the decency to tell them "No".)  Not surprisingly, Prokhorov got pissed and pulled the plug, figuring he'd been dicked around long enough. 

Nuggets management looks bad in this because they never got Melo to give them an answer to whether he would sign with the Nets.  But, I find it hard to believe they wasted this much energy trying to make a deal happen if they hadn't been encouraged by Melo's management that he would sign with New Jersey.  Which leads me back to the assessment that Melo is, by personality, a follower not a leader.  He allowed all this to happen because for the longest time he didn't really know what he wanted.  Finally, he settled on the Knicks as the place he wanted to go, but by then he'd allowed the whole Nets discussions to extend too far.  And, being the passive personality he is, he was unable to stand up and say to everyone--his management team included--that he would only sign with the Knicks.

The only flaw in how Nuggets management acted that I can see, is there willingness to leave the contract extension on the table this long hoping (praying) that Melo would stay in Denver.  (And Melo has coyly kept that option open when it's clear he has no intention of staying.)  Putting a deadline on the extension after which it would be withdrawn would have forced Melo to show his cards. 

As it is, the Nuggets must now see what the Knicks will offer, and what teams willing to 'rent' Melo will offer and choose the best of the bargain-rate deals they're likely to get.  If they can get a pick and/or a young player, and equal cap relief, they pretty much will have to take that.  (Cap relief is pretty much a given because salaries must match to make trades and the Nuggets won't take a high-salary player with a long-term contract to do that.)  But, that's the situation they're in solely because Melo won't sign an extension with anyone but the Knicks.  He's apparently willing to leave money on the table and count on endorsements to make up what he'll lose under the new CBA.

Since: Jul 30, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:36 am

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

Glad Nets pulled out of Melo sweepstakes...Giving up Harris, Favors, Morrow, Murphy, 2 first round picks +++ is absolutely ridiculous...

They have a nice young core and plenty of draft picks to build a nice young team to bring to Brooklyn.

As a Nets fan, I wouldn't mind them going after someone like Gerald Wallace. Not a huge downgrade from Melo and he produces more hustle stats than Melo. Melo is a prolific scorer who is not as well rounded as other superstars. Gerald Wallace would be a nice complementary piece to the puzzle with a
Starting Lineup of Harris (PG), Morrow (SG), Wallace (SF), Favors (PF) and Lopez (C) and a
Second Unit that includes: Farmar (PG), Vujacic (SG), Outlaw (SF) Humphries/Murphy (PF), Petro (C)
Plus FIVE first round picks...

On a sidenote, why the HECK is Troy Murphy living in purgatory???? It is crazy. You are paying the guy anyway -- let him dominate the second unit at least....I heard he is not even with the team right now while they ready for a trade....CRAZY.

Since: Feb 3, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:48 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

About time!  The first time Anthony said he didn't want to meet with the Nets, they should have ended talks.  If he doesn't want to be with the team, they shouldn't want to hire him.  Nugget fans should stay away in droves until he's gone.  They are going to have to trade him without an extension, and not get anything in return by the time the trading deadline approaches.

On a side note, we're going to be seeing a lockout at the next negotiations between players and owners.  The inmates are running the asylum...the players are exerting all the power, and holding teams for hostage, and that is not good for the game.  This is going to get ugly.

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:06 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

Good for the Nets to pull out, if Denver and Melo wanted to pull the trigger it would have been a done deal already.  It's not entirely Melo's fault, the Thuggets wanted too much in the extend and trade.

I'd like to see Melo walk away from the franchise and they get NOTHING in return.

Personally, I think the Nets are better off without him, they have nice young pieces to build around in Harris, Brooks and Favors and have 5 first round draft picks that they can leverage to add solid pieces to the core group.


Since: Nov 25, 2009
Posted on: January 19, 2011 7:06 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

How many stories have been written about the Camello trade situation?  Ba-f'nzillions.  How many really needed to be written?  A couple.  There really haven't been many legit "updates" to the story.  Look at this and many other articles... not a single quote from Carmello.  He's getting a bad rep for this, but he is only partly at fault for not deciding one way (staying with Denver) or another (going somewhere... anywhere else) a long time ago.

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2011 6:59 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

not gonna be a bull..just bullcrap the writers cant stop with

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2011 6:58 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

Remember that with all the Lebron BS, the cavs signed and traded him to Miami because they got a little something back. Even if hurts, Denver might do a sign and trade with the Knicks for that 6th year so they get something.

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2011 6:50 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

chandler already played for the bulls and he sucked. he continually underperformed.

Since: Oct 28, 2006
Posted on: January 19, 2011 6:49 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

Hah! I knew that this would blow up in their face, they just got to greedy. Nobody's going to give them the world for a guy that won't sign an extension. Jersey can trade alot less and still get a top notch vet who wants to come and play in (eventually) Brooklyn. I would'nt be surprised to see them go after Chris Paul or O.J. Mayo. With all those 1st's they got lots of ammo to get a good player on a crap team.

Since: Apr 17, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2011 6:40 pm

Nets owner Prokhorov walks from Carmelo talks

Talk about a wasted effort. Carmelo was never going to sign an extention. It's an easy scenario. He wants to play for the Knicks. He simply plays out the year and signs as a free agent. Greedy Denver loses out big time with their outrageous demands. Knicks just need to sit and wait. They get their man and give up nothing.

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