HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — This could be Carmelo Anthony‘s last Christmas in Denver.
That means no holiday more rap videos with Rocky (the Nuggets’ mascot) and The Birdman Chris Andersen. But surely Nets part-owner Jay-Z would have time to hit the studio with the organization’s prized acquisition.
And if all of the rumblings ring true, it is the Nets — not the Knicks — that are poised to land Anthony. It’s no longer a matter of if, according to multiple sources, but when.
The Magic, Suns and Wizards have already shown that cooking up and consummating a multi-team, mega-trade can be done in a matter of days if all parties are willing to assume the risks. So if it is to be the Nets, we need someone to get the ball rolling here.
Denver’s and New Jersey’s trade partners are still unclear, but league executives said the Nets and Nuggets are tweaking several possible proposals with multiple teams. For now, New Jersey general manager Billy King is preparing to send rookie forward Derrick Favors, the expiring contract of Troy Murphy, two or three future first-round draft picks and $3 million to Denver for minimally Anthony and (Al) Harrington. More Nuggets and Nets would likely be on the move, too.
Center Brook Lopez is the only Nets player not involved in any of the proposals, sources said.
The Nuggets’ sudden urgency to move the unhappy Anthony is the reason more teams have been calling lately, including two contenders who are willing to chase a championship with Anthony as a rental player, a league source said. The Nuggets could do those deals without consulting Anthony, because those teams aren’t requiring a contract extension with Anthony to make the trade.There’s more smoke to this Anthony-to-the-Nets fire.
With a new billionaire owner, assets to trade and a pending move to Brooklyn, the Nets seem more and more like the most promising suitor for the Nuggets’ all-star forward. The Nuggets and Nets have ramped up trade talks, NBA sources said Tuesday, though it’s still not known whether Anthony will sign off on the deal by signing a three-year, $65 million contract extension.
In addition, NBA sources said Tuesday a couple of contending teams have expressed interest in “renting” Anthony for the rest of the season. Those teams appear willing to trade for Melo knowing they might not be able to sign him to a long-term contract.
The sources would not identify the teams willing to possibly rent Anthony, but Dallas could be one team making an inquiry. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told 103.3 FM in Dallas earlier this season, “It just depends on who the guy is and what we’d have to give up — (but) we’ll play rent-a-player, no question about it.”
As much as we love fireworks around here, we’re not counting on anything like that in this case.
If the Nets do land Anthony in a package deal that is sure to involve multiple teams and plenty of players and picks, that leaves at least one Anthony suitor (New York) scrambling to find a replacement deal to aid their cause.
There is no shortage of speculation as to which direction the Knicks might go, highlighted by this cover-all-bases piece from our main man and Hang Time Podcast (Episode 37) guest Alan Hahn of Newsday. He mentioned so many names we don’t care to repeat them all here.
— One interesting name that popped up, however, is Andre Iguodala. The 76ers swingman had his name dragged through the trade waters during the summer and has resurfaced in the tide at Christmas. While he’s clearly not on Anthony’s level, Iggy provides a serious No. 2 (or No. 3) scoring option to Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton on a Knicks roster that could use another legitimate threat.
— Another name that has surfaced in this latest round of chatter that should intrigue Knicks fans is Stephen Jackson. The Bobcats’ captain could be a wildcard for the Knicks in this entire affair. Jackson would provide a proven playoff warrior and winner (Golden State and San Antonio) to a Knicks roster light on that sort of firepower. With Larry Brown talking about his team this way in Charlotte, it seems like changes are just a few more ugly losses away.
— The Hawks are another team in need of a shakeup. They have an asset in scoring machine Jamal Crawford (and his expiring contract), and a guy that has experience playing in New York. He could also be an intriguing option for the Knicks, if the Hawks are willing to deal him to a playoff competitor.
Whatever happens, you can expect Anthony’s name to dominate much of the conversation during this holiday weekend. All this for a deal that no one expects to be completed for another two weeks or so.
It’s clear, though, that in this season of giving, the Nuggets will be giving away (for a price, of course) the man that helped revitalize their franchise eight years ago.