Post Melo period begins with apology from Nets GM

The post-Carmelo Anthony era started for the New Jersey Nets

with a simple apology.

General manager Billy King addressed the team at practice

Thursday and apologized for the way he and the Nets handled things

in their efforts to acquire Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

While King wasn’t around to tell the media exactly what he said,

coach Avery Johnson said the GM was upset how negotiations played

out publicly and disrupted the lives of the players.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov brought the negotiations to an end

Wednesday night when he instructed King to break off talks with the

Nuggets because the proposed deal was hurting the team and had

gotten too expensive.

”Some of it he could have controlled, some of it he can’t,”

Johnson said of King. ”It’s part of the process. But he’s got a

job to do as a general manager for the organization, and he’s going

to continue to do it.”

With roughly half the season to be played, the Nets (11-31)

seemingly are going to develop their current roster and try to

improve via free agency and the draft. New Jersey has a bunch of

salary cap room and it will have five first-round draft picks over

the next two years.

The only trade on the horizon is the one to ship veteran power

forward Troy Murphy and his expiring $12 million contract

someplace. Murphy has asked for a trade and the Nets have told him

to stay home until a deal is worked out.

If there is a problem for New Jersey, it might be with some of

the players who were dangled as trade bait in the proposed

three-team deal that involved as many as 15 players between New

Jersey, Denver and Detroit.

The major players on the Nets’ side were point guard Devin

Harris and rookie power forward Derrick Favors, the third pick

overall in the April draft.

Harris smiled talking to the media on Thursday, but it seemed he

was keeping his guard up in case another deal is developed. When

asked what King said in his apology, Harris surprisingly said:

”You don’t want to know.”

He then answered:

”He said we were complete professionals and he appreciated the

way we carried ourselves throughout this whole process,” Harris

said. ”We’re going to move forward and try and win some of these

games. He said it’s unfortunate some of the things that came out

with guys’ names and such, it was tough for some of us, but he was

glad the way we handled it.”

Prokhorov, who took over the team last year, wasn’t happy the

way things played out. He said the proposed deal took way too long

and cost the Nets some wins, especially on a recent four-game road

trip where they lost every game.

Harris agreed.

”Yes, it becomes a distraction at some point when it’s

constantly talked about,” Harris said. ”For the time being, all

we can do is focus and try and improve our record.”

Favors looked relaxed on Thursday and said he felt great.

”This is a big relief because I don’t have family members and

friends calling and asking me about it, and reporters asking me

about it all the time,” Favors said.

During the trade frenzy, Favors said he stopped watching

television. He actually played one of his better games Wednesday,

collecting 12 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes in a win over

Utah that allowed the Nets to snap a six-game losing streak.

”It’s been a learning experience,” Favors said. ”If it comes

up again, I’ll be prepared.”

Veteran forward Kris Humphries thinks the players probably can

put the Anthony situation behind them. However, there is still a

trading deadline looming on Feb. 24.

”Nothing is ever over and done,” Humphries said. ”I mean

there are always trades. I don’t know about this exact situation.

This is the NBA. Who knows? Some sort of trade can happen tomorrow.

We don’t know.”

The Nets will get some help on Friday against Detroit, when

shooting guard Anthony Morrow returns to the lineup for the first

time since being sidelined with a hamstring injury in

mid-December.