We keep being told that the four-way trade to send Carmelo Anthony to the New Jersey Nets is dead -- but it may have some life in it yet.
Why else would a Nuggets scout be eyeballing Nets rookie Derrick Favors, reportedly one of the keys to a possible deal?
That's the word from the New York Daily News, whose Stefan Bondy supplemented his account of last night's preseason match-up between the Nets and the Boston Celtics by noting that "a Nuggets scout [was] in the crowd -- perhaps studying Favors for a potential trade that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Nets."
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If that's the case, the scout's evaluation of Favors is likely to be less than stellar, especially in regard to his work against the Celtics' superstar pest, Kevin Garnett. As Bondy points out, Favors "shared the court with Garnett for about 10 minutes, scoring zero points and picking up two fouls in the process."
Of course, Garnett is the wiliest of veterans, while Favors is just nineteen. But the performance can't be considered an isolated incident. Favors's three-point, four-rebound stat line against the Celts is similar to his achievement during a Tuesday scrimmage versus the Philadelphia 76ers, when "he was limited to 13 minutes because of foul trouble and finished with four points," Bondy reports.
Favors could still develop into a first-rate NBA talent -- but not all number three picks in the draft are created equal. While both he and Anthony were selected in that slot, Melo was seen from the beginning as a fearsome offensive force, while Favors is considered by most observers to be very much a work in progress -- a player unlikely to give either the Nets or the Nuggets a major boost right away.
More newsworthy, then, is the mere fact that the Nuggets sent a scout to Jersey, thereby reinforcing reports that Denver is still actively trying to make a Carmelo trade work. Godspeed.