A Carmelo Anthony trade will no longer involve the New Jersey Nets. As the Denver Nuggets talked about a trade for Anthony with other teams, they left the New Jersey Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, and Utah Jazz hanging in the wind. According to ESPN, despite the Nuggets getting back Derrick Favors and two first-round draft picks, they began balking at taking back more salary than they were giving up with the inclusion of Andrei Kirilenko. The Jazz forward had to be involved in the trade to make all the salaries work, but due to the Nuggets dragging their feet, New Jersey opted out of the talks last Tuesday night.
These Carmelo Anthony trade talks have been going on for what seems like a full month at this point, with Denver getting close to making a trade and then pulling away at the last second because they acted unready to pull the trigger. It is starting to look like the Nuggets are playing with fire here, and they could end up backing into a corner where they would end up with fewer assets coming back when Anthony goes somewhere else. The Nets seemed to be the team that was willing to give up the most to get Anthony at this point, and losing them as a trading partner weakens any scenario.
Earlier this summer, the Nuggets had been talking with the Chicago Bulls, but began demanding too much from them, only to have the Bulls back away from the table as well. Players are already reporting to their teams, and nearly every NBA franchise will be heading into practices and preseason games this week. The time to make a trade in the best-case scenario for Denver has just about run out, and they really needed to make a trade before the 2010-11 NBA season got started. Now it is something that is just going to pull at the fabric of the Nuggets, and will be an area of contention until Anthony leaves the team as a free agent.
Looking at this from the perspective of the Denver Nuggets, it almost feels like they were “played” by Anthony during his first press conference with the team this year. Stating that he never said he wanted to be traded might have fooled some people in the Nuggets front office into believing that he might stay after all, and that could have duped them into not making a move yet.
Or maybe Anthony just didn’t want to go to the Nets in the end, and is holding out hope to still be traded to the New York Knicks. This story appears even further from being resolved, and now the Nuggets have built a frustration into their season by shopping all but two player on the roster, yet making no moves.