A new partner has emerged in the New York Knicks continuing quest to obtain the services of Carmelo Anthony: the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Reports are circulating about a three-way deal that could happen as early as mid-week -- although there are a lot of gaps that would have to be filled between now and then.
The scoop comes courtesy of ESPN's Chris Broussard, who tweeted the following:
Knicks, Nuggets, Twolves discussing 3-team trade. Melo to NYK; Chandler, Corey Brewer, Minny 1st rnd pick to Den; ECurry, ARandolph to Minny
In an ESPN package on view below, Broussard elaborates, saying a transaction isn't imminent in part because Minnesota would like to receive more compensation for its participation.
Presumably, there are voices within the Nuggets organization saying the same kind of thing. While a first-round choice from Minnesota would presumably be of high value given the team's mediocre win-loss record, New Jersey had dangled two picks in front of the Nuggets before franchise owner Mikhail Prokhorov pulled the plug on a swap that would have sent Melo and Chauncey Billups to the Nets.
Then again, Nuggets execs have pissed away opportunity after opportunity -- and with the trade deadline just over two weeks away, an agreement that would give Denver a hot but potentially disgruntled shooter (Chandler reportedly doesn't want to be traded from New York), a young guard-forward who can score a little (Brewer's career average is 9.1 points per game), and a top ten pick may be the best they can do at this point.
By the way, Brewer notched fifteen points in the Nuggets 113-100 victory over the Wolves this past weekend -- and that performance may light a fire under negotiations. Of course, Kevin Love's eighteen points and nineteen boards was better. But speculation among some local commentators last week about Love being part of a Denver deal is thinking of the most wishful sort. Folks in the Minnesota front office see the UCLA product as the cornerstone of its squad going forward, as well they should.
As for those who'd like to see Carmelo stay a Nugget through the rest of the season, an argument against that prospect was made by the team's performance in a Friday night loss to Utah that I was able to witness live at the Pepsi Center. Anthony started the game disinterested and ineffective, then caught fire for a stretch aided by kind whistles (he made 17 of 18 free throws -- the lion's share of his 31 points) before mentally drifting off again toward crunch time.
Nenê contributed 28, which would have been more impressive had he not given up that many points or more through alternately soft or matador-like defense. And J.R. Smith lost his shit under pressure from Raja Bell. That's a cardinal sin, since everyone knows Bell's M.O. is to irritate opponents until they freak out. Nonetheless, Smith obliged, getting tossed from the game and laying waste to the Nugs' comeback attempt. Way to use your head, J.R.
Given that the Jazz were undermanned, the Nuggets' collapse proves that the team as presently constituted isn't good enough to contend for anything this playoff season. So why not get something for Melo while the getting is good?
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Here's the ESPN report:
More from our Sports archive: "Carmelo Anthony trade: Did Amare Stoudemire, NY Knicks kill 4-way deal featuring NJ Nets?"