HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You’d think we learned our lesson by now, wading into the mess that is the Carmelo Anthony trade rumor mill.
But we haven’t. We just can’t help ourselves. The story that won’t go away deserves yet another moment of all our time before we dive headlong into All-Star Weekend and everything that comes along with the NBA’s Super Bowl of Weekends.
Anthony is the most coveted player in the league with the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaching, but there’s no telling if and when anything will get done. Because the one thing that has become clear through all of the hyperbole and innuendo in this process — no one wants to pay the price the Nuggets are asking for Anthony.
Maybe that’s why there are so few teams mentioned in the ‘Melo-mix. Mikhail Prokhorov took the Nets out things weeks ago, with the Russian billionaire owner declaring the cost of trying to do business with the Nuggets was “too great.” And now we learn that even the Knicks, long-rumored to be the favorites to land Anthony, are balking at the exorbitant price the Nuggets are asking for one of top players in the game.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News broke it down like this:
According to a team source close to the negotiations, “there is a deal to be made” but whether Anthony joins forces with Amar’e Stoudemire in New York between Tuesday and the Feb. 24 trade deadline likely comes down to the Nuggets either lowering their asking price or the Knicks turning over their roster to acquire one of the NBA’s top players.
The Nuggets, according to a source, are asking for three starters — including Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton — plus Eddy Curry‘s expiring contract and at least one first-round pick. In that proposed deal, Anthony and veteran point guard Chauncey Billups would be coming to the Knicks.
It is believed that Walsh and Mike D’Antoni feel the team would be giving up too much. Garden chairman James Dolan has had direct involvement in the negotiations and may ultimately overrule his basketball staff.
Prokhorov taking the Nets out of the mix should have been a warning sign for other teams interested in chasing Anthony. If New Jersey — a team with resources aplenty and seemingly nothing to lose by getting involved in a prolonged trade process — decided enough was enough, the rest of the league should have taken the hint.
It’s not a knock on Anthony by any stretch. We can all agree that if he is being made available, something must be done to acquire his services. The real stain of this entire ordeal is the one splashed all over the Nuggets and the peculiar way they are handling themselves.
Even by doing their due diligence, which they are doing and have every right to do, they are making a mockery of themselves while doing so. And anyone that suggests what’s transpired so far has had no impact on the Nuggets’ fortunes this season need only look at the Western Conference standings: the Nuggets sit seventh in the West and on the edge of sliding out of the playoff picture.
As the No. 6 team in the East, the Knicks have a little better footing, but they also have to be careful of getting caught up in the drama. Philadelphia, Indiana and Charlotte are all capable of cranking things up after All-Star Weekend and making things difficult on the Knicks.
With or without Anthony, the Knicks cannot afford to sit out the postseason. If they’re going to take the proper steps to become a legitimate outfit again, they need a playoff appearance almost as much as they need to get their hands on Anthony. So we’ll ask the question one last time and let you ponder it as we head into the break:
How much does it take to get Melo?
(And go ahead and cross Landry Fields off the list. He’s family now after joining us on The Jump!)