Knicks Relish Carmelo Anthony Trade Hiccups
The crosstown-rival New Jersey Nets and their new billionaire owner made a hard play, putting together a four-team deal that would land them the Nuggets star and pour salt in Donnie Walsh's wounds after the Knicks president missed out on LeBron James this summer. Anthony -- who can be a free agent next summer and is virtually untradable unless he agrees to an extension in advance -- appeared to be giving up on the fight, warming to the idea of playing in Newark after making his love for the real Big Apple team so widely known.
But that bout was supposed to be over by Monday, when Denver, Utah, Charlotte and the truly new New Jersey Nets would move forward in a post-'Melo-drama world. No one would be faced with the most uncomfortable of Media Days, from the one in Denver today where Anthony is expected to the others where players on the trading block would be asked to somehow ignore the immense distraction.
Instead, hope is growing in the Garden again.
Every lost opportunity for the Nuggets is a win for the Knicks, a sigh-of-relief moment that keeps their superteam dream alive. Anthony might still join his friend and forward Amar'e Stoudemire in New York, and they may even find a way to finish the master plan someday: adding New Orleans point guard Chris Paul either via trade or in his summer of free agency in 2012.
But the Knicks, who are behind on these scorecards because of their lack of draft picks available to deal, learned through recent discussions with Denver that trading for Anthony was unlikely at the moment. Unless, of course, they're wiling to part ways with Anthony Randolph, Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas and Wilson Chandler. That reality could change leading up to the February trade deadline, with the pressure rising and quality of the offers surely falling as that time nears.
But this comes first, and they hope it comes crashing down.
While the notion of Anthony joining the Nets isn't a dead one, the situation grew infinitely more complicated over the weekend. The Nuggets spent their time stalling on the original proposal and exploring others, chasing an even better deal than the one that would net them rookie forward Derrick Favors, forward Andrei Kirilenko and two first-round draft picks.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Denver officials discussed a possible deal for Sixers small forward Andre Iguodala. While it appears doubtful that Anthony would sign an extension in Philadelphia, league sources tell FanHouse the Nuggets are highly motivated to land Iguodala, the seventh-year pro who had a strong showing with Team USA this summer.
The Denver Post reported late Sunday that the Nuggets inquired about sending Anthony to the Warriors, with the apple-of-their-eye -- as reported by FanHouse on Tuesday -- second-year point guard Stephen Curry. While the Warriors are believed to be strongly against giving up the Rookie of the Year runner-up, soon-to-be owner Joe Lacob -- according to the Contra Costa Times -- might be willing to trade for Anthony without the assurance of an extension.
Meanwhile, the involved parties that thought this order of business would be done by now are less than thrilled. When the Nuggets tapped the brakes on the four-team deal, sources close to the situation say their Jazz, Bobcats and Nets counterparts grew more suspicious that they were being used to raise the 'Melo price tag in the wake of so many low-quality offers. What's more, the unwanted and unintended public nature of the negotiations means each team must discuss the situation with the respective players being offered.
Anthony's weekend may have been even more damaging for the Nets, and possibly encouraging for the Knicks. League sources confirmed a Yahoo! Sports report claiming the three-time All-Star was being told by former Nets that, in essence, a New York state of mind cannot be found in Newark. Former Nets and current Dallas point guard Jason Kidd was among those advising him against heading for New Jersey, according to a league source who spoke with FanHouse.
Anthony's list never included New Jersey, as he made it clear he wanted New York or Chicago above the rest but was believed to be open to the Clippers and perhaps Houston. The Bulls remain unwilling to include center Joakim Noah in any deal and have had no progress with the Nuggets as a result. The Clippers, similarly, have been unwilling to discuss forward Blake Griffin in a near-identical nonstarter. Houston, according to sources, remains "aggressive" in its pursuit but it's unclear if any progress has been made.
Which is precisely what the Knicks are hoping for on all fronts, for Denver's Plan A through Z to fall through and Anthony to be theirs next summer. Rest assured, they're giving a standing ovation for the standstill.
E-mail Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @samickAOL.