The Nuggets are "discussing" a three-way deal to send Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks with the T'wolves are the third party.
The Nuggets dug themselves a hole with their greed and it drove Nets away from the table when they were willing to overpay Denver for Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets bargaining power has heavily weakened, worse than I said it would by this time if 'Melo was still a Nugget. What could've been a wealth of youth from the Nets or proven rising talent from the Knicks in return for 'Melo is reportedly as bad just Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer, and a draft pick in return.
The Nuggets are reportedly "discussing" a deal to send 'Melo to the Knicks for just Brewer from the Timberwolves, renting Chandler from New York, and a first round draft pick with the Knicks freeing up cap room by sending Eddy Curry's expiring contract to Minnesota, Chris Broussard reported this weekend at ESPN.
What makes this deal even more tragic for Denver is that Chandler's camp has explicitly leaked that he has no interest in playing there after he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Bulls fans: this is very good news. (Full disclosure: I got my undergrad at DePaul and am an unapologetic Chandler-phile.)
Denver will receive a lot of sympathy from pro-slavery idiots who firmly believe teams are entitled to trap stars within their system for life, but this situation is a result of the Nuggets being stupid, Adam Fuseld noted Monday at Business Insider:
This is a far worse collection of talent than what the Nuggets would
have received had they agreed to the Nets offer of Derrick Favors, Devin
Harris, and two first rounders. But Denver overplayed its hand
and tried to get New Jersey to take on Al Harrington's five-year,
$34-million contract in addition to relinquishing its most coveted
When Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov stepped in and removed his team from the trade talks, it was widely assumed that the only realistic landing spot for 'Melo was the New York Knicks. As that became clearer, the Nuggets' leverage diminished.
Now, he's rumored to head to New York, and that's exactly what 'Melo wanted.
The Nuggets would receive little value in return. Wilson Chandler is a
good young player, but is only under contract through the end of the
season and will likely demand near $10 million per year in a new deal.
Meanwhile, Brewer appears to be a backup at best, and Minnesota's first
round pick could very well fall out of the top 5. In other words,
Denver's return on the 'Melo deal is far from equal value.
I hate this possibility of the Knicks improving so greatly for so little, but blame the Nuggets; not 'Melo. 'Melo gave his team all the time in the world to publicize a sense of urgency in teams to nab the superstar forward. Denver didn't exploit the moment and effectively take advantage of the Knicks and Nets' knee-jerk reactions to sell the farm for 'Melo.
'Melo's situation should not be underrated. He lived a good portion of his childhood in New York, his wife is a TV personality with New York-based MTV, and most importantly his sister left her four children after she tragically passed away around Christmas due to an undisclosed "pre-existing medical condition."
For all intents and purposes, it's safe to assume her "condition" was present when 'Melo told his team that he wanted to go to New York. After her passing, it's completely reasonable for him to push every possible button to be with his family and near those children.
His play has been less efficient this season. People have unfairly attributed this to trade rumors. Every report has implied he was very close to his sister and her children, but to ignore this as a much heavier psychological weight on his shoulders and motivator to change locations is irresponsible and cruel.
The source of the report
I take issue with Broussard, but one of my issues is that he acts as a media liason for William "World Wide Wes" Wesley's clients. Of course, this borderline-conflict of interest* is likely in return for leads. 'Melo is one of Wes' clients, so this could be a credible lead.
On the other hand, Tom Thibodeau is also represented by Wes' agency and it's been no secret that Wes wants 'Melo to be a Bull -- as he did LeBron James.
A reason for this leak could be to use Broussard to entice the Bulls back to the table. The Bulls lost interest because of the price, but if the price is getting this low, their final offer of Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, James Johnson, and a draft pick looks like a steal for Denver. So much of a steal that maybe Chicago could get away with keeping JJ and getting a third party to contribute the draft pick to the deal.
I'm still not prepared to seriously entertain the Bulls as a seriously interested player because of the Nuggets' greed. The problem for the Bulls is that the Nuggets wouldn't tell them the current rumor is serious until the eleventh hour to attempt negotiating against getting low-balled. In other words, the Nuggets need the illusion of a reserve price on the deal.
Sure, this could entice the Nets back to the table, but they seem to have wised up to the fact that 'Melo would leave the Nets in the 2011 offseason and sign with the Knicks as a free agent.
Matt Lindner asked the reasonable question of what the T'wolves have to gain from this trade. I replied to him that unloading Brewer for Curry's expiring contract would free up cap room. He asked me what free agent would be worth chasing.
Epic fail by me. There's no one for Minnie to chase in the 2011 free agent market.
The T'wolves are well over $10m under the cap already, so my only thought would be that Curry's $11.3 million salary is easier to deal the Feb. an Brewer's $3.7 million salary before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. That Minnie GM David Kahn thinks he nab an eight-figure-making guard for Curry's contract. (Salaries via Hoopdata.)
Consider that the 2011 free agent market will be unpredictable with the collective bargaining agreement expiring in June and all of the worthy targets being big men Minnie doesn't need or doesn't want -- with Kevin Love emerging as a stud and their commitment to a slightly improving Darko Milicic. It's reasonable to see the T'wolves noticing their best opportunity to improve is trading for a guard who can defend and score.
Otherwise, it makes no sense. And that wouldn't surprise me. Because Kahn is an idiot.
* - I'm in now way accusing Broussard of an ethics violation. I'm stating the reality that with access comes the often abuse by the source to use the journalist as a personal mouthpiece to push an agenda -- whether that journalist is Broussard or someone carrying such heavy consequences as David Sanger or Bob Woodward. The former is a sportswriter relaying information he's received from a source for our entertainment; the latter type pushes disinformation that leads to economic and existential warfare. Big difference.
There are very few like Seymour Hersh and Gareth Porter in the business. In the sports world, very few with the integrity of an Adrian Wojnarowski.
UPDATE (2/7/2011): Andy Rautins and Kelenna Azubuike could be thrown into the deal from New York's end, which changes everything [sic]. (via Matt Moore)
Broussard's also reporting that he has a source telling him the Nuggets are in talks with the Lakers, which Kurt Helin implies is planted by the Nuggets to get "leverage." Makes sense that every camp is going to begin abusing Broussard's quickness to report everything a source tells him --not by saying the information is true, but just saying that a source told him.
Tags: anthony randolph, basketball, carmelo anthony, chicago bulls, chris broussard, corey brewer, danilo gallinari, david kahn, denver nuggets, eddy curry, james johnson, luol deng, mikhail prokhorov, minnesota timberwolves, nba, new jersey nets, new york knicks, taj gibson, trades, william wesley, wilson chandler, world wide wes