By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
Posted Feb 20 2011 7:16PM - Updated Feb 21 2011 12:08AM
The Carmelo Anthony saga entered the home stretch Sunday, with the New York Knicks making what some have termed a "final" offer to the Denver Nuggets for the four-time All-Star .
The deal includes forward Danilo Gallinari, guard Raymond Felton and forward Wilson Chandler, along with at least one first-round draft pick and the likelihood of another first to come when and if the Knicks move unused center Eddy Curry and his expiring contract to a third team. But the Nuggets will not make a final decision today on whether to accept the Knicks or New Jersey Nets' offer for Anthony, who played in the All-Star game in Los Angeles Sunday.
A league source involved in the discussions said Sunday afternoon that the Nuggets are not necessarily convinced that New York's offer is its last, although the Knicks have maintained that to the Nuggets in the last two days. Denver, according to another league source, would prefer to have guard Landry Fields and center Timofey Mozgov in the trade instead of Gallinari, but the Knicks have refused to include those two young players, hoping to keep them to surround Anthony and fellow All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire.
Anthony and his representatives finally met Saturday with the Nets' leadership group, which included owner Mikhail Prokhorov, team CEO Brett Yormark, minority owner Jay-Z and team president Billy King. The Nets came away from the meeting "confident," according to another league source, that Anthony would accept a trade to New Jersey and sign the $65 million contract extension the Nets have insisted be part of a potential trade. However, two other sources continued to maintain Sunday that Anthony has no interest in signing the extension or playing for the Nets, and remains committed to the Knicks.
If Anthony were to wait until the offseason, he could terminate the final year of contract and sign in New York as an unrestricted free agent. But with the uncertainty of what a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players will look like, Anthony would be gambling with the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars if he opted for free agency. The league is looking for, among another concessions, the implementation of a hard salary cap that would likely impose bigger restrictions on what teams could pay even their star players.
The Nets' offer for Anthony would send guards Devin Harris and Ben Uzoh, along with forward Troy Murphy and rookie forward Derrick Favors, and four first-round picks to Denver in exchange for Anthony, guard Chauncey Billups, forward Renaldo Balkman and center Sheldon Williams. Murphy would then be re-routed to another team, along with one of the draft picks. That team is expected to be the Golden State Warriors, who'll likely do a Murphy deal with New Jersey even if the Anthony trade falls through.
The Nuggets have preferred New Jersey's offer, with the prospect of adding a potential star in Fields and numerous draft picks that could faciitate a quick rebuild. However, the Knicks trade would save the team millions immediately and might allow Denver to compete in the interim in the Western Conference.
The Knicks took the unusual step Sunday of issuing a press release indicating that owner James Dolan, team president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni were all in agreement about the pursuit of Anthony. Numerous media reports have indicated that Walsh and D'Antoni don't want to pursue Anthony and would prefer continuing to rebuild slowly, and that Dolan--perhaps at the urging and assistance of former team president and coach Isiah Thomas--is pushing the Anthony pursuit.
A source expressed doubt Sunday that Walsh and D'Antoni are aboard for Anthony, despite the statement. "Everybody's got to play along on this," the source said.
|Reverse Oop to D.J. |
Blake Griffin gets in the paint and lobs it to DeAndre Jordan for the two-handed reverse slam.
|Controversial Start to Chariots of Backfire|
The Inside the NBA crew start the show with a preview of the controversial start to the Chariots of Backfire race.
|GameTime: Shaun Livingston's Journey|
TNT's Rachel Nichols follows the Nets' Shaun Livingston as he recalls his tragic injury in 2007 and his long journey through the NBA.
|Sounds of the Game|
NBA Action goes behind the scenes to give you the "Sounds of the Game".
|GameTime: On the Court With John Wall|
Washington Wizards star John Wall stops by the GameTime court to talk hoops and breakdown his mindset on the hardwood.