George Karl Watches Derrick Favors, Thinks Trade Could Fall Through
Want to talk about the Nuggets being close to a blockbuster deal? Consider Karl admitted he watched television Wednesday night and honed in on Derrick Favors, the rookie New Jersey forward who could be a key possible piece in an Anthony deal.
Want to talk about nothing happening by the Feb. 24 trade deadline with Anthony, who has not signed a $64.47 million contract extension and can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer? Consider Karl saying he believes there's just as much chance the Nuggets could finish the season with a similar cast rather than make a blockbuster deal.
First Favors, who had 12 points and two rebounds in the Nets' 118-109 overtime loss at Phoenix.
"I'll be honest, (Wednesday) night was the first night I even looked at Favors,'' Karl said after Thursday morning's shootaround at the Pepsi Center in preparation for the evening game against Miami. "I had some time last night and I watched Favors play against Phoenix. This (trade speculation) has been going on for five months and I haven't even watched Favors. We played them here (Nov. 20). I watched him then.''
But Karl still believes there's an equal chance the trade deadline will pass with the Nuggets maintaining a similar team to what they have now.
"I think the chances of this team being somewhat what it is is probably just as much of a possibility of not being,'' Karl said. "That's my reality. That's my thought process of this drama. I don't like the drama and I'm not an expert on the drama.
"For me, coaches are paranoid. Coaches get tunnel vision over 'what ifs.' And it's just best for me to stay strong with somehow, someway this could be our team, and I still think it could be a really good team.''
Karl then confirmed that he was talking about the team staying similar for the rest of the season.
"In my paranoid world, I think that's a hell of a possibility,'' Karl said.
Karl said his belief is not the result of any conversation with Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri.
"I talk to Masai once every three or four days on detail,'' Karl said. "But I don't want daily detail. Tomorrow's going to be different.''
It's possible a currently proposed three-team trade in which Anthony and guard Chauncey Billups would go to New Jersey and the Nuggets would get Favors, guard Devin Harris and first-round draft picks from the Nets, could fall through. That trade, which also would include Detroit, could be shot down if Anthony is unwilling to sign an extension with New Jersey, and there's been no indication yet he is willing.
If Anthony prefers to go to New York and the Nuggets want to possibly salvage their season, there is a scenario in which a trade could be put off and done between the end of the season and June 30. But the only way that could happen is for Anthony to either agree to sign an extension for a trade or Anthony agrees to not opt out of his $18.52 million contract for next season.
The risk the Nuggets would run is Anthony could opt out and they could lose him for nothing, but Anthony might be reluctant to do that due to possibly losing a lot of money in a new collective bargaining agreement. Another drawback to waiting until after the season would be expiring contracts, such as the one belonging to Troy Murphy (who is proposed to go from New Jersey to Detroit in the deal), would be out of play in possible deals leading up to the Feb. 24 deadline.
If Anthony opts out, the Nuggets, though, still could recoup assets for Anthony in a possible sign-and-trade deal, if that option remains in a new CBA. And the Nuggets (21-16) could salvage this season, one that might fall apart if they go by the Feb. 24 trade deadline into a full-scale rebuilding mode.
For now, Karl is keeping his eyes on Favors, just in case he soon joins the Nuggets.
"I didn't watch (Wednesday's game) studiously,'' said Karl, whose Nuggets did announce Thursday that backup center Chris Andersen will miss about a week to rest nagging knee and back injuries. "I just watched it. He's fine. But I don't have enough (information to speak in depth about Favors). ... I did get a website that I can get every minute he's played. So that would be probably the next step.''
Obviously, Karl, who is in the last year of his contract and is negotiating an extension that is expected to get done by February, knows the Nuggets could overhaul their team. But Karl told FanHouse earlier this week he's committed to returning to Denver next season, and sources said the Nuggets are committed to bringing him back.
"When it happens, come talk to me,'' Karl said of a possible roster overhaul. "I'll probably make some bets with you, because everyone's been trying to destroy this season anyway. I'm sure if something happens, it will be even more. So you can probably get some bets out of me after my moment of sadness.''
Karl is hoping the cast remains the same past the trade deadline. But he didn't offer to take any bets on that.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson