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Nets Look to Upstage Knicks, Complete Deal for Anthony

Posted By Brandon Marcus On Jan 11 2011 @ 11:30 am In NBA | No Comments

It is common knowledge that Carmelo Anthony wants to become a Knick.  While his days in Denver have been numbered for quite some time, theres been the assumption that sooner or later he would wind up in New York. Yet all the while, Denver’s discussions have been almost exclusively with New Jersey, and over the last few days reports have a deal with them nearing completion for the second time this season.

The Detroit Pistons have emerged as the final linchpin of the deal, who will send Rip Hamilton to New Jersey in exchange for Troy Murphy’s expiring contract. The massive proposed deal in its entirety is as follows; take a deep breath people.  The Nets would be sending Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, Stephen Graham, Quinton Ross, Ben Uzoh and two first-round picks to Denver, and Troy Murphy and Johan Petro to Detroit. In return the Nets would get back Anthony, Billups, Hamilton, and Denver’s Shelden Williams and Anthony Carter. Yikes!

It would be a shame for all the parties working so hard to get a deal constructed  for the point to be moot if Carmelo is not amenable to signing an extension to remain in Newark. And here in lies the issue. Nothing thus far has led us to believe that he is right now on board with the move. The Nets are convinced that once a deal is done with Billups and Hamilton included, that they can convince Melo’ face to face to sign the extension. But if you listen to Anthony talk on the subject, its hard for me to be as convinced.

“I haven’t heard anything on that. It’s just been speculation as of right now. Masai (Ujiri, executive vice president of basketball operations) and Josh (Kroenke, team president) are not even here. So I don’t see that happening.” Not happening for how long, Carmelo? “I’m just saying I don’t see it happening right now.”

That could be Carmelo just being diplomatic, but it  doesn’t sound like someone resigned to a imminent move nor can you glean so much as a hint from those words that he will be willing to sign an extension with Jersey. Denver has held on to the faint hopes that he would sign their standing 3-year $65 million offer for as long as they could, and clearly are now ready and motivated to move past this exhausting affair and start fresh. That said, as the final pieces of this deal are said to be falling into place, Denver continues to attempt to squeeze every ounce of value out of it, with the latest buzz having them pushing Al Harrington into the discussions. As a Knicks guy myself, anyone from New York could have told Denver they’d end up as desperate as a panhandler on a street corner to rid themselves of that mistake.

That brings me to the Knicks end of this. Speculation has been that Denver is uninterested in anything the Knicks would have to offer, and whats more, they have little inclination to placate Carmelo and New York by giving them the marriage that they desire. I understand the desire to get draft picks, which the Knicks lack and the Nets have in abundance, but I for one am perplexed as to why Denver so decidedly prefers what New Jersey has to offer.

Wilson Chandler is exceedingly underrated, averaging 18 points, 6 rebounds and a block and a half this season as the number three guy on an improving Knick team. He’s only 23 years old and has muscular 6’8 build that bears resemblance to Lebron James. OK, calm down I said,”bears resemblance”. Point is, he would slot in immediately and give them production. They may be frightened by his impending restricted free agent status, but the dude is a player. Landry Fields has been the steal of the draft by a country mile, and Danilo Gallinari is still immature, but at 22 has a silky stroke and plenty of room to grow. Take two of those guys and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract and theres at least the framework of a deal here.

It seems like there may just be too many conflicting elements in play. Anthony’s desire to be in New York gives the Knicks leverage, and since the Knicks hope he makes it to free agency so they can sign him outright, they are prepared to wait this one out. Denver clearly has other plans.

It may end up being a blessing in disguise for the Knicks, who are playing their best ball in a decade, but GM Donnie Walsh must be displeased with how this process unfolds. As well as things are going for New York, they still are highly motivated to team Anthony with the new king of the Gaahden, Amare Stoudemire.

The Nets on the other hand must be extremely anxious to complete a deal. But the same issue still remains; does he want to commit to three years in New Jersey, even with a move to his neck of the woods Brooklyn on the horizon? The Nuggets have made their run to the conference finals and fell short with Billups alongside Melo’, and I don’t think either player believes the solution is to try their luck together elsewhere. Further, there is no reason to believe Billups is thrilled at the concept of leaving his home town Denver in this manner.

I find it hard to believe that this saga will reach its conclusion in this form, and frankly the conjecture that any deal is imminent is premature. In any event, it appears now more likely than ever that New Jersey, not New York will be his eventual landing spot. While I don’t believe failing to get Carmelo is by any means the end of the world for New York, I do believe the Nets now must get a deal done. Their unbridled pursuit of the Denver star has reached the point of no return for the current roster that awaits it’s dismantling, and fan base teased by the endless rumors.

At this point, I do honestly hope he ends up in Jersey, which would create an interesting rivalry for two neighboring franchises that obviously are not all that fond of each other (despite nothing resembling a basketball related rivalry).  The Nets billionaire owner…hold on I have to copy/paste his name…Mikhail Prokhorov has vowed to make the Nets relevant again, and acquiring Anthony would grab all the back pages and challenge the Knicks strangle hold on the tri-state spotlight. The Knicks will always be the Knicks, and the Nets will always be the Nets; but theres no question this would make for a fascinating dynamic.

For Denver’s sake, for Jersey’s sake, for the league’s and for NBA fans’ sake, it’s time to rap up this drama. I like a meaty trade rumor as much as the next guy, but with the media the way it is in this day and age, everybody knows whats going on.

The players involved are twisting in the wind. We’ve reached the public’s saturation point with the public nature of it all.

It’s time to shift the focus back to basketball.

And for the Nets especially, a resolution can’t come soon enough.

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