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Carmelo Anthony Trade To Nets Is “Dead”

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“I’m here today. Whatever the future holds, it holds,” Anthony said this morning at the Nuggets’ annual media day. “I’m leaving my options open right now.

“At the end of the season, I’ll sit down with my team, I’ll sit down with the Nuggets, and we’ll talk about it. This has been a long summer. I’m just excited to get back to the court.

According to several published reports, the trade proposal that would’ve sent Nuggets All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to the New Jersey Nets is now “dead”.  On Friday, several outlets reported that the four-team deal between New Jersey, Charlotte, Denver and Utah was imminent, but quickly deteriorated over the weekend due to several factors.

Several sources reported that the Nets grew increasingly impatient with the Nuggets hesitation to pull the trigger on the deal, and were privately miffed that the Nuggets were using the proposed trade as leverage to solicit a better trade package…..

The Trade

The Nuggets would have received Derrick Favors (NJ) and Andrei Kirilenko (Utah), along with two first-round draft picks.  The Nets would have sent Devin Harris to Charlotte, while the Bobcats would have shipped forward Boris Diaw to the Utah Jazz.

While Favors, Kirilenko and two first-round picks would seem to be ample compensation for their disgruntled All-Star, sources say owner Stan Kroenke was not willing to pay the extra 10 million dollars(luxury tax) on an already inflated 2010-2011 payroll.

Ken Berger of CBSsports.com also reported that the deal would have been completed had Charlotte not waived center Erik Dampier and his non-guaranteed $13 million dollar contract.  According to Berger, this  “Dust-chip” would have provided the Nuggets with major savings and cap flexibility, around $33 million dollars when factoring in the luxury tax.

The Bobcats who are in cost-cutting mode, were reported to have major reservations about taking on Devin Harris remaining $26.8 million dollars of his contract. The Nets were 12-70 with Devin Harris at point guard last season.

Nuggets Front-Office

Much of the blame for the failed trade, is being placed on the shoulders of the new  Nuggets brass. GM Masai Ujiri, Advisor Bret Bearup and Owner Josh Kroenke were reported to have “dropped the ball”  during the deal, their consistent wavering and indecision eventually causing the agreement to crumble.

Since firing GM Mark Warkentein, and the resignation of highly respected assistant coach Tim Grgurich, the Nuggets are showing signs of a structural re-configuration — from top to bottom.  They hired former Raptors exec Ujiri, while Stan’s son Josh’s influence on the day-to-day operations has greatly increased.

The duo is reported to having compromised the four-team trade with their hesitation to pull the trigger, and are said to have “frustrated” other executives by using the tentative trade agreement as leverage for a better offer.  While advisor Bret Bearup is said to have wanted to trade Anthony for some time, it’s obvious the trio is not on the same page.

Others have accused the Nuggets brass of having “too many cooks in the kitchen”, admitting there was confusion and uncertainty about who is calling the shots in Denver.  Stan Kroenke? Bret Bearup? Masai Ujiri? No one can say with any confidence. What we do know is that Anthony obliged Ujiri’s request to meet face-to-face on the morning of Media Day, saying:

“I met with Masai right before media day. He said what he had to say, I said what I had to say, we discussed a lot of things out there on the table.”

Anthony was in Los Angeles Sunday night where he received the news he wouldn’t be moved and reluctantly boarded a plane to Denver, reporting to Media Day Monday morning. Make no mistake about it, Anthony has never publicly demanded a trade, and will remain a professional throughout the process until a deal is made.

Though the Nuggets had reportedly removed his image from their official team website(since been placed back), he’s not jeopardizing his money or trade value by publicly voicing his discontent, or desire to play somewhere else (see Rudy Fernandez).

Going into this off-season, Anthony hoped the Nuggets would add an impact player that would put the team in better position to challenge the Lakers, Mavericks and Spurs in the Western Conference.

Instead, the team went out and signed Al Harrington to a reported 5 year 35 million dollar deal.  Don’t get me wrong, the 6’9 250lb  Harrington gets his numbers and is great for fantasy basketball, but he is a marginal defender and what some would consider a “black hole” on offensive end.

He is more of a natural small-forward(Anthony’s position) with the ability to slide to the power forward position, and is typically over-matched in the paint by taller, longer and bigger defenders.

Harrington to the Denver Post:

“I want to show that I’m not a selfish player and that I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. I don’t have to score 20 every night with a team as talented as we are offensively. Defensively, I want to bring a lot of energy on that end.”

On Carmelo:

“I’m looking forward to seeing him. I’m going to give him my little pitch, and hopefully we can change his mind, because he loves this city and this city loves him.”

Change his mind? Harrington is saying the right things right now, sounding like a team player — far removed from his  reputation as a gunner. Not sure what good words are, from Harrington or anyone in the Nuggets organization.  Chauncey Billups essentially removed himself from any Melo recruiting efforts, and George Karl reportedly hadn’t spoken to Anthony.

No matter what  “friendly voices” are in Anthony’s ear, it hasn’t changed his feelings. His relationship with the  Nuggets is severely fractured and beyond repair, leaving no doubt in my mind that Anthony will be traded before the NBA trade deadline in February.

There have been several reports suggesting that the Knicks are his preferred trade destination, but with rumors flying around of tampering with Anthony by New York, the Nuggets were reportedly “cool” on the Knicks as well.  It is left to be seen if the Knicks can secure a 1st-round draft choice to trade, and if they are willing to part with uber-studs Danilo Gallinari and Anthony Randloph in exchange for Anthony.

We maintain that the Chicago Bulls are indeed Anthony’s top choice to play and sign an extend and trade.

With training camp in full-swing, teams are already evaluating their current rosters, chemistry and cohesiveness headed into the season.  Wait too long and you disrupt the established continuity, which will have some influence on when players are moved.

While teams will have more time to scramble and secure the necessary resources that the Nuggets are demanding, the added risk of injury to Anthony of any players involved in a deal, increases the probability of a trade being made sooner than later.

The Bulls continue to try and work out an extension with Joakim Noah before the Oct.31st deadline and there are theories that the team may have floated Noah’s name out there in hopes of pressuring him into signing the existing extension on the table.  This could work in the Bulls favor, as players in this position have a tough decision given the uncertainty of the Collective Bargaining Agreement next summer.

It could also backfire and Noah could pull a Carmelo Anthony, essentially forcing the Bulls to trade him, regardless of his public proclamations of love for the franchise.

The Bulls are reportedly engaged in discussions internally and are actively weighing all options and possibilities regarding a potential deal bringing them the NBA’s best pure scorer.

Though Anthony could play the entire season as a Nugget, it is highly unlikely.  The highest profile name in the 2011 free-agent market, Anthony is in the last year of his deal and if the Nuggets don’t trade him before February, they will lose him without compensation.

[Benjamin Hochman]

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Jerseychaser54

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3 Comments

  1. JR September 30, 2010

    Good article, but I want to point out with Grgurich he is still with the team helping out. He just decided to step down from coaching (he has been wanting to for years), but will still help the team (just not everyday). The reports on ESPN kind of blew it out of proportion.

    Reply
  2. Jerseychaser54 September 30, 2010

    Thanks JR, didn’t realize Gurg was still involved

    Reply

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