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Tag:Devin Harris
Posted on: September 26, 2010 7:14 pm
 

Nuggets exploring their options

There was renewed hope Sunday that a four-team trade sending Carmelo Anthony to the Nets was still alive, with the framework of the deal possibly expanding to include additional players and possibly another team, CBSSports.com has learned.

But a weekend of inertia continued to frustrate the three teams Denver hastily recruited to accelerate Anthony’s departure, with executives standing firm in their belief that the longer the delay, the stronger the chance that the precarious structure of the trade could fall apart.

Among New Jersey, Utah and Charlotte, sources say least concerned were the Nets, who understandably have “no deadline” to pull off the blockbuster, franchise-shaping deal. The problem is with the pieces volunteered by the Jazz and Bobcats, who’d benefit the least from the arrangement and want to avoid unnecessary distractions heading into training camp this week. Charlotte’s role in the existing deal would be to send Boris Diaw to Utah and receive Devin Harris from the Nets, while Utah would send Andre Kirilenko to the Nuggets, who’d get No. 3 pick Derrick Favors and two first-round picks from New Jersey. Quinton Ross also would go from New Jersey to Utah.

“No one wants to go to camp with drama,” said one executive not involved in the pursuit of Anthony, who ignited the sweepstakes by refusing to sign a three-year, $65 million extension while his high-powered agents, Leon Rose and William Wesley, pushed hard all summer for a trade.

Sources say the Nuggets have been taking full advantage of the holding pattern in talks to listen to offers from other teams – though executives with knowledge of the situation do not believe a better offer has presented itself. The Bulls and Clippers, two teams with attractive assets and a realistic chance of persuading Anthony to sign an extension with them, have not progressed beyond the packages they initially brought to Denver’s attention. Some signs Sunday pointed to the revival of talks between Denver and Philadelphia with Andre Iguodala going to the Nuggets, but there was no signal from Anthony’s camp that he’d softened in his opposition to bringing his talents to South Philly.

Another player the Nuggets have targeted as a viable asset to recover in an Anthony trade, Anderson Varejao, remains a long shot for the same reason; Anthony isn’t going to Cleveland, the city that superstar LeBron James fled in July as though the Cuyahoga River were on fire.

So on the second front, the Nuggets are trying to determine whether another player within the current framework of the deal or even a fifth team would be able to further sweeten the reward for parting with the organization’s best player in two decades. The Nets are said to have “exhausted” the options available to the Nuggets in the current structure of the trade, with one possibility having Harris going to Denver instead of Charlotte. What Nuggets officials are weighing there, according to an executive with knowledge of the talks, is whether Harris might have more value as a trade chip than Kirilenko – an indication that Denver would view itself as being in full-blown cost-cutting and rebuilding mode without Anthony in the fold. Kirilenko, with a $17.8 million expiring contract, would seem to have more value than Harris, who is owed $27 million over the next three years. The Nuggets have not asked the Bobcats for Gerald Wallace, according to one executive familiar with the negotiations.

With nothing happening to push the discussions any closer to completion or extinction, Anthony could very well still be a Nugget during media day Monday at the Pepsi Center, which brings the saga to its next critical turning point. Anthony’s presence around the team will give GM Masai Ujiri his first chance to sit down face-to-face with the superstar and hear directly from him on his level of comfort with the best offer the team has received to move him.

Coach George Karl, whose ability to influence Anthony’s position should not be underestimated, also will have a chance to be in the room. This way, Nuggets officials will be able to hear first-hand from Anthony where he stands on the direction of the organization and his comfort level with joining a New Jersey team that would still be one major piece away from championship contention after adding Anthony. To this point, the vast majority of communication with Denver officials has come from Anthony’s advisers with Creative Artists Agency – most notable Rose and Wesley, who staunchly favor a trade to pastures they argue are greener than in Denver.

What the Nuggets are hoping, at the risk of jeopardizing the best offer they may get, is that Anthony’s angst will subside once he’s back with the only team he’s known during his seven-year career. He may conclude that he wouldn’t be much better off somewhere else.
Posted on: September 25, 2010 8:49 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2010 1:51 am
 

Melo deal in holding pattern

In the 24 hours since Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri and executive Josh Kroenke left New York City, where face-to-face negotiations with Nets officials rapidly transformed the Carmelo Anthony saga into a game of who blinks first, the discussions have stalled, according to officials familiar with the situation.

Two people with knowledge of the negotiations described them Saturday as stagnant, with a third person going so far as to say talks were "still developing." Anthony himself, watching the UCLA-Texas game from his Los Angeles home, was said to be telling friends simply that there was nothing new to report.

No news is ever good news with a trade this big and complicated, with stakes this high. And it appears that Denver's strategy to accelerate Anthony's trade demand into a full-blown poker game, with an unofficial deadline of Monday, could be jeopardizing the potential blockbuster that would send Anthony to the Nets.

"With every day that passes," said one executive not actively pursuing Anthony, "the bigger deals fall apart."

The talks were not there yet Saturday, with one source describing the slow-dancing tactic from Denver simply as "part of getting a deal done." But even management sources who've been confident from the beginning that Anthony would sign off on a trade to New Jersey recognize how many other things could go wrong in a trade of this magnitude.

As things stood Saturday, the Nuggets were still getting No. 3 pick Derrick Favors from the Nets and Andrei Kirilenko from the Jazz. Devin Harris would go from the Nets to the Bobcats, who would send Boris Diaw to Utah. New Jersey also would send two first-round picks to Denver -- its own and Golden State's protected first-round pick in 2012 -- and Quinton Ross to the Jazz. Charlotte continued to balk at sending point guard D.J. Augustin to the Nets, and New Jersey officials were seeking to expand the deal in the pursuit of a point guard to replace Harris.

Multiple executives monitoring the Melo developments believe that publicizing the four-team trade talks was an effort on Denver's part to solicit better offers from other teams. However, the list of teams believing they have a shot at getting Anthony to agree to an extension is short; he's made clear from the beginning that his first choice is New York, with Chicago, the Nets and possibly the Clippers also having a chance.

One team clearly not on Anthony's list, Cleveland, deserves to be mentioned nonetheless because sources indicate that Anderson Varejao is among the players Denver has targeted as an acceptable replacement asset for Anthony. The others are Kirilenko, Andre Iguodala and Gerald Wallace, a person with knowledge of the team's strategy said.

The anticipated avalanche of offers, however, did not appear to be forming Saturday. One team with an outside shot at getting Melo's approval was described by sources as "not trying." Also, an executive on the periphery of the talks described Denver's negotiating stance as "delusional."

Anthony's first choice, the Knicks, have the expiring contract of Eddy Curry and young players to offer, but lack the first-round picks Denver is seeking. However, team president Donnie Walsh is said to be in no frenzy to acquire an attractive first-rounder. Sources say Walsh is playing his own game of poker and is unwilling to jeopardize the progress he's made in rebuilding the Knicks' roster and cap position -- a monumental task over the past 2 1-2 years. He also knows that if Anthony wants to come to New York badly enough, he can arrange that as a free agent after the season.

The team with arguably the most attractive first-round pick to offer -- the Clippers, who own a 2011 first-rounder from Minnesota that is unprotected in 2012 -- were nowhere near the Melo talks Saturday, sources said.

While sources who predicted that completing the structure of the deal would be more difficult than getting Anthony's approval to re-sign with the Nets were validated with Saturday's developments, a significant roadblock on the Anthony front still exists. With Favors being sent to Denver in the proposed deal, leaving center Brook Lopez as the only potential All-Star on the roster besides Anthony, the soon-to-be-ex-Nugget was said to be "worried about going there by himself," according to one executive familiar with the situation.

Thus, a significant aspect of what Anthony is mulling is whether Chris Paul -- a fellow client of Creative Artists Agency's Leon Rose-William Wesley tandem -- would be willing to join him there. Anthony, however, would have to wait until 2012 when Paul can become a free agent. That would coincide with the Nets' move to Brooklyn, but a lot can -- and will -- happen between now and then: a new collective bargaining agreement, possibly a lockout, and two seasons for Anthony in Newark, which is only a few miles from the Seventh Avenue entrance to Madison Square Garden but is really light years away.

 

 
 



Posted on: September 24, 2010 2:20 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 11:02 am
 

Melo-to-Nets 'still developing' (UPDATE)


A proposed four-team trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Nets gained momentum Friday night, with sources telling CBSSports.com that New Jersey officials have grown confident that Anthony wouldn't block such a deal.

Two executives involved in the complicated discussions among the Nuggets, Nets, Bobcats and Jazz dismissed a published report saying Anthony had already given his approval. That aspect of the transaction, necessary because the Nets won't trade for Anthony unless he agrees to a contract extension, is "the easy part," one of the execs said. The hard part is the structure of the deal, which ran into a couple of roadblocks over the past 48 hours.

One impediment, sources say, is the Bobcats' refusal to include point guard D.J. Augustin in the trade. The Nets, who will be left without a starting point guard with Devin Harris going to Charlotte in the four-team scenario, don't necessarily view that as a deal-breaker. But sources say the Nets, the team that has been most aggressive in its pursuit of Anthony since it became known six weeks ago he wanted out of Denver, are concerned enough that they are continuing their attempts to pry Augustin from the Bobcats. If they're unsuccessful, another option would be to try to bring in another team.

"It could expand," one of the sources said.

UPDATE: As the Nets began two-a-day practices in New Jersey and the Nuggets prepared for media day in 48 hours, one executive involved in the process said he was "not optimistic" the deal would be finalized Saturday. A second executive with knowledge of the negotiations said the transaction was "still developing," adding that Augustin was still not included in the deal.

"There’s a lot of moving parts in there that could cause it to fall apart," said an executive not involved in the negotiations. "There’s no deal breakers in there, though. If that’s what Denver wants for Carmelo -- I don’t think it's much -- but if that's what they want, they can get it done."

That executive, whose team tried without success to get into the Melo sweepstakes, added, "I'm not sure Melo's sold on Jersey. I think he's worried about going there by himself." If that's the case, one of the road blocks could be determining the likelihood that Chris Paul -- who like Anthony has made noise about wanting to be traded this summer and is represented by Creative Artists Agency -- would be inclined to join him as a free agent in 2012, just in time for the Nets' move to Brooklyn.

"That could very well be the sticking point," the executive said.

The execs involved in the trade discussions were not aware of Anthony signing off on being sent to New Jersey, as reported by the New York Daily News, but would not be surprised given the vibes they've gotten previously from Anthony's team of advisers at CAA, including agents Leon Rose and William Wesley.

The Nuggets, Nets, Bobcats and Jazz began discussing the four-way deal "weeks ago," according to one of the people with knowledge of the talks. The Nuggets, trying to take control of the message and the leverage, accelerated matters in the past 48 hours when GM Masai Ujiri and executive Josh Kroenke -- son of owner Stan Kroenke -- flew to the New York area to meet with Nets officials, sources told CBSSports.com. Ujiri and Kroenke left the city Friday without finalizing details of the trade, sources said, but all parties agreed to "keep working on it."

Yahoo! Sports reported that Denver was giving Anthony 48 hours to decide whether he'd agree to an extension and be traded to the Nets or stay in Denver.

The Nuggets would get No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors from the Nets, who would send Harris to the Bobcats and Quinton Ross to the Jazz. Charlotte, in turn, would send Boris Diaw to Utah, which would send Andrei Kirilenko to the Nuggets. Denver also would get a 2012 first-round pick from the Nets, who got the pick from Golden State. The selection is top-seven protected in 2012 and '13 and top-six protected in '14.

With the framework of the deal now public, the Nuggets can use it to solicit better offers from other teams. The Knicks, for example, have taken a patient approach, believing that Anthony wouldn't find a better situation than waiting until after the season and signing as a free agent with New York -- his first choice. Now, the Knicks may be compelled to reignite previous efforts to locate an attractive first-round pick to send to Denver. Newsday reported that Knicks president Donnie Walsh was taking a wait-and-see approach and was not willing to gut his revamped roster to get Anthony.

At the same time, Anthony has something to think about besides simply wanting out of Denver. He has the possibility of a consolation prize -- playing in the New York market, but doing it in New Jersey for the next two years. Given Anthony's displeasure with the instability in Denver -- including the ousting of GM Mark Warkentien and the resulting departure of George Karl's trusted assistant, Tim Grgurich -- that may be a more attractive option. If nothing else, the Nuggets are forcing him to make that call now, before even stepping foot on the court for training camp. If the tactic works, offers will come flooding in from other teams who are looking to get in the sweepstakes.


Posted on: September 15, 2010 8:26 pm
 

Nets, Sixers add intrigue to Melo saga

One month after Carmelo Anthony’s high-powered team of advisers first began pressuring the Denver Nuggets to trade him, the superstar scorer has not wavered in his desire to be dealt, multiple sources told CBSSports.com.

“There’s no sign of reconsideration on Carmelo’s part, despite what [Denver] has publicly said,” said one of the people involved in the process.

The two sides remain locked in a stalemate over Anthony’s future while a three-year, $65 million extension offer sits untouched in front of him. While Nuggets officials – including influential adviser Bret Bearup and executive Josh Kroenke – continue to rebuff trade inquiries while hoping to repair the franchise’s relationship with Anthony, privately the team is beginning to examine which teams would have the most attractive combination of young players, draft picks and expiring contracts to complete a deal. And the team currently viewed by people close to the situation as having the most realistic chance of putting together a blockbuster, perhaps multi-team deal for Anthony is the New Jersey Nets.

“They’re working the hardest to get a deal done,” one of the sources said.

With No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, multiple extra draft picks, and Devin Harris, whose $8.98 million contract could be parlayed into a serviceable replacement for Anthony in a three-team trade, New Jersey has the makings of a package that would appeal to Nuggets officials, one of the people with knowledge of Denver’s strategy said. The key, according to the person, would be involving a third team to convert Harris into something the Nuggets would view as “decent replacement value” for Anthony.

That is where another team equipped with attractive assets could enter the picture, multiple sources said: the Philadelphia 76ers. New team president Rod Thorn and GM Ed Stefanski – who formerly worked together in New Jersey – could be central to constructing a deal that would compel the Nuggets to move Anthony rather than endure a season-long distraction that ends with Anthony leaving as a free agent after the season. The key pieces of the Philadelphia equation would be the expiring contracts of Jason Kapono ($6.64 million) and Willie Green ($3.98 million), a young talent such as Thaddeus Young, and Andre Iguodala, who is coming off a solid contribution to Team USA’s gold-medal performance at the FIBA World Championships. Some executives believe the Sixers would at least discuss including No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner if it meant getting Anthony, but that would defeat the purpose of going over the luxury tax to get Anthony in the first place.

Thorn drafted Favors, so that is one piece that is expected to be integral to the discussion once the Nuggets officially begin seeking trade packages for Anthony. The dropoff in talent from Anthony to Iguodala is considerable, but so is the savings; Iguodala is due $44 million over the next three seasons, compared to the $65 million Anthony would command. Two people familiar with Denver’s strategy confirmed the Nuggets would be intrigued by a deal centered around Iguodala. The Nets could sweeten any such offer with Golden State’s 2012 first-round pick and two extra second-round picks they own in the same draft.

A package sending Anthony to the Nets, Favors to Philadelphia and Iguodala to Denver is one way all of these moving parts could come together. But Thorn is said to have reservations about such a deal, which has yet to rise to the level of discussion among the teams.

The situation is complicated by the difficulty in putting enough assets in the deal to satisfy the Nuggets, who don’t want the first move of GM Masai Ujiri’s regime to be trading the team’s cornerstone. Even more crucial is the need for Anthony to indicate he’d be willing to sign an extension with the team that acquires him. It is believed that Anthony, a Brooklyn native whose wife, LaLa Vasquez, also is from there, would sign off on a deal to the Nets, who move to the New York City borough in two years. It is not clear how Anthony would feel about signing an extension with Philadelphia, a city that is halfway between his New York birthplace and the Washington, D.C., area where he grew up. The Sixers were not on Anthony’s initial list of preferred destinations, which included the Knicks, Magic, Bulls and Nets. Anthony, who is good friends with former Sixers star Allen Iverson, also is aware of how harshly Philadelphia treats its sports stars, a person with knowledge of his thinking said.

The Bulls are viewed by one source as “not a realistic candidate” due to the team’s unwillingness at this point to include Joakim Noah in the deal. The Bulls and Noah are currently negotiating an extension. The Knicks, Anthony’s first choice, are viewed by rival executives as not having enough assets to entice the Nuggets. New York has Eddy Curry’s $11.3 million expiring contract, promising big man Anthony Randolph, and swingman Wilson Chandler, but the team’s draft-pick cupboard is bare. Adding to the frustration among Nuggets officials, sources say, is that Anthony’s team has been slow to offer a comprehensive list of trade possibilities.

As the Nuggets walk the tightrope between getting value for Anthony and trying to compel him to reconsider and sign the extension, other factors are in play. Ujiri, a former Nuggets scout who was with the organization when Anthony was drafted, just lived through the nightmare of losing star Chris Bosh in Toronto. Ujiri was part of the management team that decided not to trade Bosh at the February 2010 trade deadline, and Bosh bolted to join Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami. The Raptors got a trade exception and two first-round picks – small consolation for the loss of the team’s franchise player.

Which is exactly what the Nuggets are trying to avoid, one way or another.
Posted on: June 24, 2010 6:35 pm
 

Bulls in mix for free-agent duo

NEW YORK -- The Bulls have been talking about trading Kirk Hinrich since the February trade deadline, for obvious reasons. Shedding his $9 million salary for next season would seriously enhance Chicago's already strong hand in the free-agent chase that begins July 1.

That plan came to fruition Thursday when Chicago agreed to send Hinrich and the 17th pick in the draft to the Wizards, which means they're now riding shotgun with the Knicks as the two teams with the most cap space for the Summer of LeBron.

By ridding the '10-'11 payroll of Hinrich's salary and the $1.3 million they would've had to pay the draft pick, the Bulls are now hovering around the $30 million mark in cap space -- second only to the Knicks' approximately $34 million. The Nets ($27 million) and Heat ($26 million) are in the back seat in terms of sheer cap room.

Those numbers could change between Thursday night and July 8, when teams can begin consummating trades and officially signing free agents. The Heat, for example, have been very active in recent days in their efforts to unload Michael Beasley in a cap-clearing move. But that scenario is complicated, one rival GM said, because of Beasley's status as a former No. 2 pick. They can't just send him to a team with cap space and take no players back, as the Bulls did with Hinrich. "They have to get something for him," the GM said.

The Nets, owners of the No. 3 pick (for now), also have been involved in various conversations about moving Devin Harris -- with the latest buzz centered around the Pacers in a swap of the third and 10th picks that would send Danny Granger to New Jersey. The Pacers have been actively discussing the 10th pick with numerous teams, but president Larry Bird and GM David Morway have long been opposed to dealing Granger. Asked if the Indiana-New Jersey scenario had legs, one person directly involved in the discussions said, "Nope."







Posted on: January 21, 2010 5:44 pm
 

Will Mo injury prompt Cavs trade?

The Cavaliers' announcement Thursday that guard Mo Williams is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained left shoulder presents an interesting dilemma if you're Danny Ferry.

Well, interesting if you're you or me. Distressful if you're Danny Ferry.

The news could've been worse. As Plain Dealer Cavs writer extraordinaire Brian Windhorst pointed out, Williams could've needed surgery, which would've sidelined him for months. Such a verdict would've put the Cavs and Mike Brown in the same boat the Magic and Stan Van Gundy found themselves in last spring with Jameer Nelson -- and we all know how that worked out.

Assuming the worst-case scenario -- that Williams misses six weeks -- his return would be slated for the first week of March. That's still plenty of time to restore normalcy to the Cavs' offense and get Williams in shape for the playoffs. But remember: There's a very real chance that the Cavs will lose Delonte West for an extended period of time once his weapons charges are dealt with in Maryland -- and in NBA Commissioner David Stern's office. With guns galore in the NBA this season, clearly Stern will be in no mood for a slap on the wrist. According to reports, West is due in court Friday for a pre-trial hearing. Barring a plea, trial is set for February.

So ... with two key backcourt members facing lengthy absences, what does Ferry do? His posture to this point in the trade market has been to try to parlay Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his $11.5 million expiring contract into a stretch power forward -- someone like Washington's Antawn Jamison. But now, there are backcourt issues to be addressed. And in all likelihood, neither outcome will be known for sure before the Feb. 18 trade deadline.

Play-making guards who currently qualify as very available are the Nets' Devin Harris, the Sixers' Andre Iguodala, and the Knicks' Nate Robinson. Harris and Iggy carry a hefty price for the Cavs, who already have precious little cap space to operate with next summer, when their prized free-agent-to-be, LeBron James, will be weighing his options. It borders on the farcical that the Cavs would take on Harris' $27 million over the next three seasons for a short-term fix -- one that would only further pave the way for the Nets to lure LeBron and another top-tier free agent on July 1.

Iguodala's $57 million over the next four years? Not even worth discussion, in my opinion.

Robinson is the cheapest and least cap-killing option, given that he's on a one-year deal for $4 million. (He also has the right to void any trade, but why would he do that in this case?). The risk with Robinson comes on the court, where he's undisciplined, and in the locker room, where his playful antics rub veterans the wrong way. Maybe Shaq and LeBron could put him in his place. Maybe not.

The Cavs can certainly get by with LeBron handling more of the initiating duties on offense and Daniel Gibson playing increased minutes (although the latter is a lot scarier than the former). Remember, too, that Leon Powe looms as a wild-card addition to the front court once he returns from a season-long absence following offseason knee surgery.

So a logical course of action for Ferry would be to ride it out, make do with what he's got, and hope for the best once Williams returns.

But with so much pressure on this franchise to deliver a championship for LeBron in his walk year, it's certainly worth wondering how much this turn of events will increase the temptation to make a proactive -- and potentially risky -- move between now and Feb. 18.













Posted on: November 28, 2009 12:40 pm
 

Nets, Frank continue march toward immortality

There has been "no change" in Lawrence Frank's status as coach of the 0-16 Nets as the franchise continues its inexorable march toward the record for NBA futility, two people familiar with the team's situation told CBSSports.com on Saturday.

After losing to the Kings 109-96 Friday night, the Nets enter Sunday's game against the defending NBA champion Lakers with a chance to equal the worst start in league history, achieved by the 1988 expansion Heat and 1999 Clippers. After Sunday's presumed defeat is in the record books, Nets president Rod Thorn faces a decision on Frank with two off days prior to the potential record-breaker at home Wednesday against Dallas -- and Frank's former point guard, Jason Kidd. Does he allow Frank, whom he has respected and supported, to achieve the futility mark at the hands of Kidd? Or does he deviate from his plan to evaluate Frank's job performance only when the team returns to full health?

A mercy firing might spare Frank the embarrassment of having his name forever associated with a winless start that has more to do with ownership's cost-cutting than Frank's coaching ability. But there's little hope it would change the Nets' fortunes. Shooting guard Courtney Lee played only three minutes off the bench Friday night after returning from a groin injury two games earlier. Although Devin Harris returned to the starting lineup against the Kings, the Nets are still without reserves Yi Jianlian, Jarvis Hayes, Keyon Dooling, Eduardo Najera, and Tony Battie. Thorn has been thus far steadfast in his plan to hold off on deciding Frank's future until the team has a reasonable complement of players available. One of the sources stipulated that there is no change in Frank's status "right now" -- further evidence of how fluid the situation is.

Frank is a lame duck in the final year of his contract, but with lead assistant Brian Hill having left to join the Pistons' bench, Thorn's options are limited to assistant coach Tom Barrise and assistant GM Kiki Vandeweghe. Complicating matters is the pending sale of the team to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and the fact that Thorn and Vandeweghe also are in the final year of their contracts. Given the Nets' lame-duck status in New Jersey and the scant hopes for a meaningful turnaround, league sources believe it's not out of the question for lame-duck owner Bruce Ratner to mimic the Hornets' decision to install GM Jeff Bower as Byron Scott's replacement on the bench. It is believed that Vandeweghe, who traveled with the team on the current West Coast trip, would accept such a reassignment on an interim basis. 

Barring something even more unforeseen than an arena materializing in Brooklyn by the All-Star break, none of the above has more than a puncher's chance to knock the Nets off their collision course with history.


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