By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
Posted Sep 24 2010 6:17PM
The NBA waits on Denver and 'Melo.
The four-team deal that would send Carmelo Anthony to the New Jersey Nets is in place, only awaiting a decision by the Nuggets on whether they'll pull the trigger and move their franchise player, and a separate decision by Anthony on whether he'll sign an extension with New Jersey that would keep him there at least three more years.
The Nets, according a source involved in the discussions, increasingly believe Anthony will sign the three-year, $65 million extension he has left on the table in Denver all summer if he is traded to New Jersey.
The Nuggets are still trying to figure out some way to keep the 26-year-old Anthony in the Mile High City, despite his clear desire to leave. A league source said Denver had made a recent attempt to pry Detroit guard Rip Hamilton from the Pistons without success to show Anthony that the organization could still put talented players around him. But if the Nuggets can't add to their personnel, keeping Anthony happy becomes a near-impossibility. According to another source, Anthony was not thrilled that the Nuggets were not able to do more than sign free agent Al Harrington this summer while other teams in the Western Conference made bigger moves.
Despite the recent ascension of Josh Kroenke, the 30-year-old son of principal owner Stan Kroenke, into the primary decision-maker for the Nuggets as Stan Kroenke plans to take over the NFL's St. Louis Rams, the source involved in the talks believes that Stan Kroenke will ultimately make the final call on whether to trade Anthony. Yahoo! Sports had reported earlier this summer that a meeting between Anthony and his representatives and Josh Kroenke did not lead to the rapproachment between player and team that the Nuggets had hoped.
Stan Kroenke is turning ownership of the Nuggets and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche to his son to comply with NFL rules, but he has until the end of the calendar year to do so. In the interim, he is still on the NBA owner's Labor Relations Committee that is meeting with the National Basketball Players Association in hopes of averting a lockout next summer.
The proposed deal, first reported by ESPN Friday afternoon, is not imminent, though the Nets plan to press to make the deal happen this weekend, when the team begins two-a-day practices.
The trade would send Anthony to the Nets, with Denver getting Derrick Favors, the third pick overall in last June's Draft, along with forward Andrei Kirilenko from the Utah Jazz and two first-round draft picks -- including the 2012 first-round pick the Nets got from Golden State this summer in a trade for guard Marcus Williams. The pick is protected through the seventh pick in the first round, so if Golden State were to get one of the top seven picks that year the Nets -- and, if the deal goes through, the Nuggets -- would get a first-rounder in 2013, also protected through the seventh pick.
The Nets would then send point guard Devin Harris to the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats would send forward Boris Diaw to the Utah Jazz. The Nets, who would obviously need a point guard if they trade Harris, were still trying late Friday to get Charlotte to put guard D.J. Augustin into the deal. If the trade were to go through without Augustin New Jersey would start newly signed free agent Jordan Farmar at the point.
Utah would exchange Kirilenko, who had a bounce-back year last season, in exchange for Diaw in order to get under the $70.3 million luxury tax threshold for next season, according to a league source. Kirilenko will make $17.8 million this season while Diaw makes just $9 million.
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