New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov met with Carmelo Anthony in Los Angeles on the same day a spokeswoman for the Russian billionaire said he had no plans to sit down with the All-Star forward, according to multiple reports.
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Minority owner Jay-Z also was involved in Saturday’s meeting, according to the New York Daily News.
The Nuggets have looked into trading Anthony since he declined to sign a three-year contract extension worth nearly $65 million this season. The Nets were close to a deal twice, and the New York Knicks are considered the other favorite to land Anthony if Denver decides to move him.
New Jersey and Denver recently renewed trade talks for Anthony for the third time this season. But Anthony, who can became a free agent after this season, insisted twice Friday that no meeting was planned with Prokhorov and Ellen Pinchuk, a spokeswoman for the owner, made the same claim earlier Saturday.
”Just to update you, Mikhail has not met with and has no plans to meet with Carmelo Anthony,” she said. ”He is looking forward to enjoying All Star Weekend. We will have nothing else to add on this …”
ESPN.com, citing a league source, reported that the meeting occurred at a Los Angeles-area restaurant and also included Nets general manager Billy King and chief executive Brett Yormark. Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, and his business manager, Bay Frazier, also were there, according to the report.
Anthony wants something to happen soon, but hasn’t received any indication from Nuggets president Josh Kroenke that it will.
”I believe that me and Josh have a good relationship. Since he became the owner, we’ve been talking a lot. The lines of communication have been open,” Anthony said earlier Saturday. ”I do believe that if something was to break or happen, that he would call me or he would sit down with me and explain it.”
New York or New Jersey would have to give up a big portion of its roster to land Anthony. Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that the Knicks were willing to offer starters Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton.
”If anything was to happen with whatever team, of course, I would want a team to be able to compete with,” Anthony said. ”As far as all the players that’s in the deal, that’s supposed to be in the deal, yeah, that’s a lot of players for one guy.”
The Nuggets approached the Nets in the past week to see if they were still interested in acquiring the small forward, an NBA source close to Nets told The Associated Press on Thursday. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the team.
There were reports the Nets and Nuggets discussed a deal that would have sent point guard Devin Harris, rookie forward Derrick Favors, the No. 3 pick in the draft, others and at least three of the Nets’ five first-round draft picks over the next two seasons to Denver for Anthony, point guard Chauncey Billups and others.
The Nets were close to a deal for Anthony in training camp and there was a 10-day span in January when the Nets and Nuggets appeared on the verge of pulling off a blockbuster 15- or 16-player, three-team deal with Detroit that would have brought Anthony to New Jersey.
When the deal lingered without resolution, Prokhorov ended the speculation in dramatic fashion, saying the lingering talks were hurting his team. He also cited the high price the Nuggets were seeking and his frustration with the public nature of the talks.
When asked earlier Saturday if there were any meetings or last-ditch efforts planned to try to land Anthony, Jay-Z told The Associated Press: ”Nothing is done until it’s done.”
Knicks All-Star Amare Stoudemire denied a report that he was against the reported deal for Anthony.
”I don’t know where you heard that from. You didn’t hear it from me,” he said. ”It’s always a touchy topic because you don’t want to offend anyone . . . but Carmelo is obviously a friend. He’s from New York, New York loves him.”