The NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles was a microcosm of our entire Melodrama.
On Friday morning Nuggets small forward Carmelo Anthony was reportedly heading to New Jersey for rookie forward Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris, spare parts and four first-round draft picks. But the deal was, and still is, contingent on 'Melo signing a three-year extension with the Nets. Then the Knicks upped their offer to include point guard Reymond Felton, forwards Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler and a first-round draft pick.
'Melo still suited up for the West All-Stars and reportedly met with both East-Coast teams. After all the positioning and posturing, the Nuggets will likely trade Anthony to the Nets if he agrees to sign an extension there, but will settle for the Knicks' proposal if he won't agree to go to Jersey.
The latest, and strangest, report is that the Nuggets may end up trading with both the Knicks and the Nets, but this deal may be held up by something called Timofey Mozgov -- the Knicks center who is averaging four points and three rebounds per game.
ESPN's Chris Brousard is reporting that if the Nuggets trade 'Melo and Chauncey Billups to the Knicks for Gallinari, Chandler, Felton and Mozgov, the Nuggets would then look to trade either Felton, Gallinari or Chandler and Mozgov to New Jersey for two first-round picks. That scenario would land the Nuggets three first-round picks in total and save them roughly $20 million.
But New York is reportedly reluctant to include Mozgov in the deal because there's only so many assets a team can give up for a top fifteen player in the league and a back-up center best known for getting destroyed by Blake Griffin is the obvious tipping point.
'Melo will reportedly give the Nets an answer on whether or not he would sign an extension with them today. Even if the Nets are not in serious contention to get 'Melo, as some have reported, they have done their job from the Nuggets' perspective, which is to eff with the Knicks.
Once the deal with the Nets was reported, the Knicks sweetened their offer to include both Chandler and Gallinari. Previous versions of the trade included one of the other, but not both. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger is reporting that the trade might be a three-team deal involving the Minnesota Timberwolves in which the Nuggets would also land forward Corey Brewer.
Nuggets fans can also be comforted by reports that former Knicks GM Isiah Thomas is becoming more influential on owner James Dolan and pushing for 'Melo, even if it means giving up more role players. Any time Thomas is involved the advantage goes to the other team.
Whichever scenario actually plays out, the All-Star weekend was a good one for Denver. It now appears the team will get young talent, salary cap relief and future draft picks in exchange for its star, which is what it wanted when all this talk began before the season. Getting much of value looked bleak after Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said his team was walking away from trade talks with the Nuggets.
'Melo is leaving, but it appears the Nuggets won't be next year's Cleveland Cavaliers, who recently snapped an NBA-record twenty-six game losing streak. For these negotiations, that definitely constitutes progress.
Keep up with the latest on 'Melo in our Sports Archive, with updates like this: NY Knicks mull Melo price as pressure builds on Lakers to make move
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