With an agreement reportedly in place on a trade, the New Jersey Nets must now convince the Denver Nuggets’ star forward Carmelo Anthony to agree to sign with the team, the New York Post reported Friday.
The long-awaited — and once-canceled — meeting between the Nets’ owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, and Anthony to determine the Nuggets forward’s willingness to play in New Jersey will take place during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, NBA sources confirmed.
Foremost, Prokhorov needs assurances from Anthony that he will sign the three-year, $65-million contract extension Denver has had on the table since June. If Anthony agrees, the Nets and Nuggets would proceed on finalizing a nine-player plus draft picks blockbuster trade that would reshape both rosters.
After the Nuggets reached out and contacted the Nets more than a week ago to reopen talks, the sides collaborated on a deal that has settled into the following form:
The Nets would send rookie Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris, forward Troy Murphy with his expiring $11.9 million contract, rookie guard Ben Uzoh, and four first-round draft picks to the Nuggets for Anthony, point guard Chauncey Billups, forwards Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams, and center Melvin Ely.
The Nets would surrender their first-round pick for June’s NBA Draft along with a pair of 2012 picks (a protected-to-18 pick received from the Lakers and a protected-to-seven pick from the Warriors), and a 2011 lottery-protected Rockets pick.
There were indications of a third team being recruited to help broker the deal. But it was not believed to be Detroit, which was involved in January’s proposed three-team deal that stretched to 17 players at one point.
Now, with the parameters in place, interest centers on the meeting between the Nets and Anthony. Prokhorov is expected to be joined by Nets adviser and minority share owner Jay-Z to make his global-vision pitch that includes an emphasis on the team’s move to Brooklyn in 2012.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.
The Nets received permission last month from Denver to talk to Anthony. Sources claim Nuggets executives are skeptical Anthony would re-sign with them, thus becoming a free agent after the season.
In the deal, the Nuggets would get draft picks and salary-cap relief; the Nets would get the star they covet so desperately as they try to advance from the 17-40 rebuilding outfit coach Avery Johnson coaxes through each game.
The day and time for the Los Angeles meeting is unclear, but one source said it would take place "sooner rather than later." Prokhorov has rented a suite at the Staples Center for All-Star weekend.
The last planned meeting resulted in one of the all-time great press conferences.
Prokhorov flew from Russia on Jan. 19, put an end to trade talks, and canceled a planned meeting the following day with the small forward the Nets have chased since September.
The Nets have proceeded for months under the conviction Anthony would agree to sign with them. If he opts for free agency, he would risk a smaller payday under the new collective bargaining agreement and would lose $18 million in guaranteed money next season.
Anthony’s preference has been to be dealt to the Knicks, but their offers have reportedly underwhelmed Denver, and the Nuggets’ counter-proposal this week was deemed too steep by Knicks president Donnie Walsh.
Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, is also scheduled to sit down with Anthony in Los Angeles on Friday or Saturday, the New York Daily News reported.