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Have Nuggets given Nets OK to talk to Anthony?

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst
Posted Jan 16 2011 8:42PM - Updated Jan 17 2011 8:24AM

A league source said Sunday that the Denver Nuggets have granted the New Jersey Nets permission to speak directly with Carmelo Anthony about the proposed trade that would send Anthony to New Jersey, and about potentially signing the three-year extension that the Nets insist Anthony agree to before they agree to make the deal.

However, a second source with knowledge of the discussions between the teams said late Sunday night that Denver had not yet granted New Jersey permission to talk with Anthony, who has yet to definitively say whether he wants to play with the Nets even if they acquire Chauncey Billups, his current Nuggets teammate, and shooting guard Richard Hamilton from Detroit, which would be the current trade scenario between the Nuggets, Nets and Pistons.

Anthony has made it clear that he would like to be traded to the Knicks. But the Nets have been in the lead for weeks now, because of their unique ability at the moment to give the Nuggets a package of young players and draft picks Denver wants. The Nets have offered to send first-round pick Derrick Favors, two draft picks and other players to Denver for Anthony and guard Chauncey Billups, with guard Rip Hamilton coming from Detroit to Jersey in exchange for forward Troy Murphy.

Under normal rules, direct contact with Anthony by Nets officials, up to and including majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov, would be tampering. But if Denver gives New Jersey permission to contact Anthony, the Nets can make their sales pitch to Anthony about their team without being subject to penalties. Prohkorov, according to league sources, believes he can sell Anthony on the Nets if he can get in front of him.

Anthony has declined to sign the $65 million extension in Denver for months, with momentum building toward a trade in the last few days. Sources indicated last week that they believed the three-team deal would be consummated this week.

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