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Sources: Nets close to landing 'Melo in three-team trade

By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
Posted Jan 9 2011 8:58PM - Updated Jan 10 2011 12:14PM

The New Jersey Nets were close on Sunday evening to acquiring All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets in a three-team deal with the Detroit Pistons, but are still looking to get a commitment from Anthony and his camp on a long-term contract, according to two league sources.

The deal would send Anthony, along with guards Chauncey Billups and Anthony Carter, along with center Shelden Williams, to the Nets. Detroit would send veteran Rip Hamilton to New Jersey. The Nets would send guard Devin Harris, rookie forward Derrick Favors, guards Anthony Morrow, Stephen Graham, Quinton Ross and Ben Uzoh, along with two first-round picks, to the Nuggets. New Jersey would send center Johan Petro and forward Troy Murphy (and his expiring $12 million contract) to Detroit.

Talks continued Monday, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press. The three teams negotiated over the weekend and the source said the deal was "advancing.''

Anthony refused to discuss a potential deal before the Nuggets played New Orleans in Denver on Sunday night. He said afterward he didn't think a 96-87 loss was his last game in a Nuggets uniform.

"Uh-uh, not at all," he said, repeating the phrase "not at all" four times.

Asked if that was an indication he wouldn't sign the extension so the trade with the Nets could be consummated, Anthony demurred, saying: "I haven't heard anything. Only, that it's just been speculation as of right now."

Anthony noted that team executive Josh Kroenke and general manager Masai Ujiri "are not even here, so I don't see that happening."

In what time frame was he referring to?

"I'm just saying I don't see it happening right now," Anthony said.

This week sometime?

"No."

The potential savings for Detroit -- Hamilton has two years and $25 million left on his deal -- combined with the opportunity to break up the backcourt logjam that has plagued the team for two seasons makes the deal irresistable for the Pistons. Trading Hamilton would allow the team to, finally, move Ben Gordon into the starting lineup instead of splitting mintues with Hamilton.

The Pistons don't want Petro, though, and are looking for New Jersey to route him somewhere else.

Billups and Hamilton were the starting backcourt for the Pistons team that won the 2004 NBA title and remained teammates until Detroit traded Billups to his hometown club for Allen Iverson.

Billups said he didn't know if a trade was imminent, either.

"I don't know nothing new, so I can't tell you nothing new," he said.

The Nets were close to acquiring Anthony during the preseason, but a four-team deal that included Utah and Charlotte fell through. Talks progressed recently with the inclusion of Detroit.

Anthony can become a free agent next summer. He has refused to sign the contract extension the Nuggets offered him last summer.

Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com reported details of the deal earlier Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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