As the Knicks and Nuggets continued to try to work out a trade on Monday that would send All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to New York, a source close to the situation told SI.com that the Nuggets remain insistent that the Knicks include backup center Timofey Mozgov in the deal. The reasoning: Denver wants to ship Mozgov and Danilo Gallinari to New Jersey for two additional first-round picks from the Nets.
The latest development, first reported by ESPN The Magazine, makes it seem as though the Nets are "throwing in the towel" on acquiring Anthony, the source told SI.com
The Nuggets want multiple draft picks in an Anthony deal, which they feel they can get by sending two of New York's young assets across the river to New Jersey.
"[Nuggets owner] Josh [Kroenke] and [GM Ujiri] Masai aren't Gallo guys," said the source. "They want the picks."
With the trading deadline just three days away, the end is in sight for the Nuggets after nearly six months of the Carmelo drama. Denver offered Anthony a three-year, $65 million extension last June, which Anthony was hesitant to sign. A long-term commitment from Anthony is crucial to any deal now, and has been the sticking point in sending him to New Jersey.
Kroenke and Ujiri agree that the best trade offer on the table for Anthony is the Nets', which would send Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy's expiring contract, Devin Harris, Ben Uzoh and four first-round picks to Denver for Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Melvin Ely and Renaldo Balkman.
Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov and minority owner Jay-Z reportedly dined with Anthony on Sunday in L.A. in hopes of getting him to sign the $65 million extension, but according to sources, New Jersey did not come away feeling convinced that Anthony would sign.
The Knicks had reportedly offered Denver their final proposal on Sunday -- Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Eddy Curry's expiring contract and a first-round pick (which they would likely acquire from Minnesota in exchange for Anthony Randolph) to Denver for Anthony, Billups, Williams and Balkman -- and they remained firm on not giving up Mozgov as well.
Knicks president James Dolan met with Anthony on Thursday before All-Star festivities began in L.A., prompting the franchise to issue a statement saying that everyone in the front office is on board with the move. Team president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni had earlier balked at giving up most of the Knicks' core to acquire Anthony.
Anthony requested a trade last August to either the Bulls or the Knicks, but the Nuggets rejected the idea of moving him to New York because the Knicks lacked the assets for a legitimate offer. But Anthony has maintained that New York is his top choice, and his reluctance to sign the extension with New Jersey has given New York an edge in the bidding war.
Sunday evening after the All-Star Game, Anthony told reporters that he expected to be in a Nuggets uniform on Tuesday when they host the Grizzlies.
"As of right now, I'm still a Denver Nugget," Anthony said. "The deadline is Thursday, so obviously, something's got to happen, whether I'm in Denver or whether they trade me or whatever. The end is here."