Posted on: September 24, 2010 2:20 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 11:02 am
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 23, 2010 4:44 pm
Let the Melodrama begin. A little more than a year after a trip to the Western Conference finals, the Nuggets are on the verge of implosion. Superstar Carmelo Anthony wants a trade, but first he's going to have to show up at training camp Monday and answer questions about it for days on end. George Karl is back from his valiant cancer fight -- without trusted assistant Tim Grgurich and with a long list of issues. Karl, perhaps, is the Nuggets last, best hope to talk Melo out of wanting out.
Training camp site: Pepsi Center, Denver
Training camp starts: Sept. 28
Key additions: Al Harrington (free agent), Shelden Williams (free agent).
Key subtractions: Johan Petro (free agent), Joey Graham (free agent), Malik Allen (free agent).
Likely starting lineup: Chauncey Billups, PG; Arron Afflalo, SG; Carmelo Anthony, SF; Al Harrington, PF; Nene, C.
Player to watch: All eyes are on Melo. If he’s not traded by the time camp opens Monday – and all signs point to not –then the Melodrama will only get thicker and thicker. There’s zero chance Anthony refuses to show up for camp; he is an image-conscious superstar who is going about his trade request professionally, as opposed to the Rudy Fernandez scorched-Earth approach in Portland, for example. (Plus, Melo doesn’t want to be fined, nor would he disrespect George Karl that way.) But how Anthony responds to the media attention, how he interacts with his teammates after weeks of news reports, and ultimately whether he’s able to reconnect with Karl will be the three biggest stories of camp for Denver.
Chemistry check: This should be a happy time, with Karl returning to the bench after missing much of last season due to cancer treatments. As usual, Karl has a restless locker room to deal with – and Melo isn’t the only problem. Kenyon Martin openly questioned whether the Nuggets got better this summer. J.R. Smith needs to go. The Nuggets cleaned out their front office, too, jettisoning 2008-09 executive of the year Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman and hiring Toronto assistant Masai Ujiri while giving more power to adviser Bret Bearup and executive Josh Kroenke. Oh, and Karl’s longtime assistant, Tim Grgurich, isn’t coming back. That’s all – so far.
Injury watch: Martin and Chris Andersen are expected to miss the early part of the season as they recover from knee injuries.
On the spot: Ujiri. While he technically won’t have final say on whether to trade Anthony, where to trade him, or for what, dealing the franchise cornerstone will be on his resume one way or another.
Camp battles: Harrington, Williams and Renaldo Balkman are in the mix for playing time in the frontcourt while Martin and Andersen are out.
Biggest strength: Well, that depends on whether you’re talking with Melo or without. With Melo, they have one of the top five or six players in the NBA paired with Billups, a savvy floor leader who probably has one more season of championship-caliber play in him. Without Melo, it depends on what they get for him.
Glaring weakness: Stability. In a few short weeks, or at most, months, the momentum of seven straight playoff appearances (including one conference finals appearance) and three consecutive 50-win seasons could go up in smoke if and when they have to move Melo. In the short term, Denver’s weakness will be up front with Martin and Andersen out – which explains their pursuit of Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and other bigs this summer.
Posted on: September 15, 2010 8:26 pm
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: August 3, 2010 6:54 pm
The Nuggets decided Tuesday not to renew the contracts of front office executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman, a shakeup that has been expected for months.
Paul Andrews, executive vice president of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, announced the changes in a news release in which he said, "We decided that it would be best for all parties to go their separate ways."
The real question is how the front-office shakeup will affect Carmelo Anthony's posture on a three-year, $65 million extension that he has yet to sign. Anthony's indecision has fueled speculation that he wants to test the free-agent market next summer -- barring a lockout -- and that he wants to see the direction the Nuggets are headed before signing it. As of Tuesday, there were more questions than ever about that direction.
Warkentien, the 2008-09 NBA executive of the year, never received a formal extension offer even though his contract was set to expire this month, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Seeing the shakeup on the horizon, Warkentien obtained permission to speak with other teams about various GM openings. He got permission to speak with the Knicks about a potential front-office vacancy as team president Donnie Walsh's day-to-day GM, but that opening never materialized. It now appears that the Knicks will not add a person to the front office and will instead expand the duties of former player Allan Houston, who has been training under Walsh and played an important role during free agency.
Warkentien also received permission to interview for the Suns' GM position vacated by Steve Kerr's departure, and interviewed over the phone for the job, which went to former player agent Lon Babby.
Chapman, rumored to be on the way out with Warkentien since CBSSports.com reported in March that owner Stan Kroenke was planning sweeping front-office changes, recently interviewed for the Hornets' GM job that went to former Spurs executive Dell Demps. Josh Kroenke, Stan's son and the eventual owner of the Nuggets, is expected to take on an expanded role in Denver's new front-office structure.
Coach George Karl said recently he is committed to returning to the sideline next season after recovering from cancer treatments, but added, "It's not a guarantee."
Posted on: July 14, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2010 12:30 pm
The Nuggets bolstered their front court Wednesday by agreeing to terms with Al Harrington and Shelden Williams, while also bringing back one of their own free agents, guard Anthony Carter, people with knowledge of the deals confirmed to CBSSports.com.
In giving the full mid-level exception to Harrington -- five years, $34 million -- the Nuggets are now out of the running to match the Raptors' four-year. $18.8 million offer sheet for restricted free agent Linas Kleiza.
Harrington, 29, is a good teammate and proven scorer whose presence will help the Nuggets survive the absence of injured big men Kenyon Martin and Chris "Birdman" Andersen at the start of the 2010-11 season. But Harrington's erratic, often puzzling offensive play could present a problem for a Denver team that already has its share of free spirits.
Luke Ridnour's four-year, $16 million deal with the Timberwolves only bolsters belief around the league that Minnesota will trade Ramon Sessions, one of the many point guard GM David Kahn has assembled. Charlotte, having lost starting point guard Raymond Felton to the Knicks, is the most sensible destination. A person with knowledge of the Bobcats' dealings said the club has yet to engage in such talks with the T-Wolves.
Of far more importance regarding the Ridnour signing is what it says about Ricky Rubio's future in Minnesota, when Kahn already has Ridnour, Jonny Flynn and Sessions (for the time being) to play the same position. The Knicks have coveted Rubio since draft night in 2009, but Kahn continues to steadfastly refuse to entertain trade offers for the Spanish sensation, who will play at least one more season in Italy -- at which time Kahn will persuade him to play for the Timberwolves or acquire three more point guards.
The Hawks want Shaquille O'Neal to eat up some minutes in under the basket and sell some tickets. The Cavs like Marvin Williams, who was drafted under Cleveland GM Chris Grant's watch when Grant was a front-office employee with the Hawks. A sign-and-trade with O'Neal getting the veteran's minimum or close to it -- about the best he's going to do at 38 -- makes perfect sense . But at this point. a person who would be involved in such discussions told CBSSports.com Wednesday it has never been discussed. Give it time.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 9:02 pm
Carmelo Anthony has been taking in all the free-agent news from Los Angeles, where he's been spending much of the offseason working out and mulling a three-year, $65 million extension offer from the Nuggets. In a phone interview with CBSSports.com Monday night, Anthony said he hasn't decided whether to accept the extension -- nor has he heard from Amar'e Stoudemire about possibly joining him in New York as a free agent next summer.
"He was just out here in L.A. with me," Anthony said, "but we never talked about that."
Stoudemire, who agreed to a five-year, $99.8 million contract with the Knicks Monday, told reporters over the weekend that he was trying to bring Anthony and Spurs point guard Tony Parker with him. Both could be free agents next summer.
"I'm happy for him," Anthony said of Stoudemire. "Real happy for him."
Anthony's future is tied to the extension offer that's on the table with Denver. The decision is whether to take the money and security now, or enter the summer of 2011 as the unquestioned face of that free agent class.
"It’s on the table, but I haven’t made a decision yet," Anthony said. "I just want to take my time on this one, really just want to take my time."
Part of the equation is a new collective bargaining agreement -- and potentially, a lockout -- that would seriously cloud the benefits of being an unrestricted free agent next summer. Barring a trade this summer -- which CBSSports.com reported Saturday has a "zero chance" of happening -- Anthony would have until June 30, 2011 to accept the Nuggets' extension offer.
"As far as free agency goes next summer, of course the collective bargaining agreement comes into play," Anthony said. "That's definitely something to think about. But right now, as far as the extension goes, I'm just taking my time."
Anthony sounded intrigued by the Knicks' agreement with Stoudemire, the first significant shoe to drop in a mammoth free-agent summer. As for whether Stoudemire could attract LeBron James or Dwyane Wade to New York, Anthony said he didn't think either one would be easily swayed by such a pitch.
"I don’t know," Anthony said. "I think those guys are going to make their own decisions. I don’t think anybody else is going to tell them what they should do. I think this is something that an individual is going to have to make a decision on."
Posted on: June 24, 2010 7:57 pm
NEW YORK -- Stunning news came down moments before the NBA draft began Thursday night. No, LeBron James didn't try to reinstate his college eligibility and join John Calipari at Kentucky. Something more unbelievable: The Trail Blazers fired GM Kevin Pritchard, telling him an hour before the draft that it would be his last day of work for the team.
Jason Quick of the Oregonian first reported the firing, which is surprising only for its bizarre timing. Pritchard's right-hand man, former assistant GM Tom Penn, was fired in March, and the writing has been on the wall for Pritchard ever since. Pritchard, who along with Penn was responsible for building one of the most competitive and financially successful franchises in the NBA, will presumably make the 22nd and 44th picks in Thursday's draft -- which he spent months preparing for -- and then start looking for work. Penn has found work already, at least temporarily; he was at the Theater at Madison Square Garden Thursday night working as a salary-cap analyst on ESPN's draft telecast.
According to the Oregonian, owner Paul Allen informed Pritchard of his dismissal Thursday night and instructed him to conduct the draft before leaving the organization. The Portland GM opening now joins a few leadership black holes around the league. The Suns didn't renew GM Steve Kerr's contract, and assistant GM David Griffin decided to leave the organization after being informed that there would be a formal search for Kerr's replacement. Denver GM Mark Warkentien's contract expires Aug. 31, and the organization has made no efforts to re-sign him. Danny Ainge's future in Boston also is up in the air with the possibility that coach Doc Rivers could step down.
As for the gaping hole left in the Portland front office by Pritchard's classless dismissal, the question becomes: Who would want to work for a franchise that treats its people the way the Blazers have treated Pritchard and Penn? The lure of the Blazers' roster and rabid fan base will be a huge calling card for any potential candidate, but buyer beware. Apparently, the money isn't great, either. One of the points of contention that led to Pritchard's ouster was his displeasure with his approximately $1 million salary -- not much more than assistant GMs make in other cities and a quarter of coach Nate McMillan's compensation. Pritchard had one year remaining on his contract.
According to a person familiar with the Blazers' internal dynamics, one option would be to appoint team president Larry Miller, head of the team's business operations, to serve as the figurehead replacement for Pritchard and hire a competent No. 2 to handle the day-to-day basketball decisions.
Posted on: June 6, 2010 9:52 pm
LOS ANGELES – Carmelo Anthony has watched the free-agent hype envelop his friends, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and can’t help wondering: What if? What if it were me?
“I know it’s overwhelming for those guys,” Melo said Sunday night at Staples Center, where he watched the first half of Game 2 in the NBA Finals from the tunnel leading to the Lakers’ locker room. “I’ve talked to Bron and I’ve talked to D-Wade more than I do with Bosh. I can hear it, that it’s overwhelming a little bit. I know I would be overwhelmed. But you’ve got to do what’s best for you and your family and hopefully win championships.”
In the coming weeks, while the free agents of 2010 are deciding their futures, Melo will be deciding his, too. Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien is expected to make a three-year extension offer to Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, in the hopes of preventing him from becoming an unrestricted free agent after next season. The decision is complicated: Take three years of security under the current collective bargaining agreement, or opt for the chance to be free next summer.
“When we talk, I’ve got to sit down with my team and talk, with all my representatives and figure out what’s the best situation – whether I take the extension now or wait until next year, depending on the collective bargaining agreement,” Anthony said. “So there’s a lot of things that go into that. It’s my decision at the end of the day. If the offer is on the table, I’ll have to look at it and see how I feel.”
Anthony, who trains in Santa Monica during the offseason, was supposed to attend Game 2 with James, who invited widespread scorn with a national TV interview that aired on CNN Friday during the Finals. James backed out of the plans to take care of other business, Anthony said.
But clearly, James somehow became cognizant of the further criticism he’d invite by sitting courtside at the very event he’s been accused of trying to upstage. While Bosh, one of the top free agents this summer, sat in the second row across from the Lakers’ bench, Anthony preferred to hang back in the tunnel to avoid attention.
“It’s fun,” Anthony said of the free-agent buzz. “It’s fun for me to watch and see what’s going on.”
But not necessarily to be a participant.