There is as much caution as confidence, but multiple NBA sources contend the Nets and Nuggets could finally agree this weekend on a blockbuster, three-team trade that would send superstar forward Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey, the New York Post reports.
One source labeled the odds the Nets land Anthony, the player who would be the centerpiece of the team’s move to Brooklyn, as "very, very good." Another simply maintained agreement between the Nets, Nuggets and Pistons could be reached "soon," before next weekend.
So sometime in this upcoming week, the lengthy, often-tumultuous journey to bag the star could end.
But sources, including one who maintained completion of the trade could come Tuesday when the NBA offices reopen following the Martin King Day weekend — and one day before Nets Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov visits Newark on "Russian Culture Night" — warned that just as the deal blew up last Sunday night, nothing is a certainty until it is done because of the complexity of moving parts and variables.
Nets brass shut down access and comments after the national public nature of the complex proceedings ticked off Denver executives.
The deal also could explode if Anthony refuses to sign an extension with the Nets. But from the outset in September, the Nets always were confident they could, first, reach agreement with Denver because they hold the best trade assets, and second, convince Anthony to sign the extension.
Anthony has balked at Denver’s three-year, $65 million offer on the table since June. The Nets would never trade for an unsigned Anthony, but they also never would have come this far without a firm conviction they could keep him.
There likely will be tweaks and twists but the deal figures to resemble what has been reported the past week, involving upwards of 12 players.
The key components for the Nets remain Anthony, point guard Chauncey Billups from Denver plus Pistons guard Richard Hamilton. Hamilton was held out of Detroit’s game Wednesday, supposedly because the Pistons were trying new looks.
The Nets play the Lakers in Los Angeles Friday, the Blazers in Portland Saturday and the Warriors in Oakland in a holiday matinee Monday. The Nets would export eight players in the deal, leaving them woefully shorthanded if the trade was finalized before they get home.
Depending on when an agreement in principle is realized, a lot of players would scramble to new addresses. When a similar problem loomed Sunday as the deal seemed imminent, a source said Prokhorov would have charter flights ready to transport players.
The original deal had the Nets sending rookie forward Derrick Favors, speedy guard Devin Harris, and shooting guard Anthony Morrow to Denver, along with two first round draft picks. Denver would also obtain reserves Ben Uzoh, Quinton Ross and Stephen Graham, with the Nets sending big men Troy Murphy and Johan Petro to Detroit.