The day after Knicks owner James Dolan had a promising meeting with Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony amid New York's ongoing pursuit of a trade, two questions remained unanswered: Is Anthony willing to pursue a move to New York at all costs? And will the Nuggets ultimately prefer the package of youth and draft picks being offered by the Nets?
Anthony has made it clear since last August that he wants to be dealt to the Knicks (or Bulls, who have not been in the running because of their refusal to include center Joakim Noah in the deal), but how much leverage has he been willing to exert to force his way to New York?
The Nets reportedly have offered the Nuggets a package built around four first-round picks, rookie Derrick Favors, Devin Harris (owed $17.8 million over the next two seasons), rookie guard Ben Uzoh and the expiring contract of Troy Murphy. In return, New Jersey would receive Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman and the expiring contracts of Shelden Williams and Melvin Ely.
The Nets' offer appears to be the superior deal for the Nuggets, leaving them with $38 million in commitments for next season in addition to the salaries of the draft picks. They could also seek to move Harris' contract to a team with a trade exception -- such as the Raptors -- in order to further reduce their obligations and set themselves up to exploit the next collective bargaining agreement with a low payroll and an opportunity to rebuild through the draft.
The Nuggets have long been pessimistic about trading Anthony to New York because the Knicks lack draft picks. One hold up in a potential trade had been the Knicks' refusal to surrender Danilo Gallinari, though according to Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks are now packaging a deal with Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry's expiring contract and a first-round pick for Anthony, Billups and salary-cap filler. That first-round pick is rumored to come from Minnesota, who would receive 6-foot-11 Anthony Randolph.
Anthony has made it clear he wants to sign a three-year, $65 million extension under the current collective bargaining agreement, which will expire June 30. If he refuses to sign the extension because the Nuggets won't trade him to New York, then he'll risk facing a franchise tag as well as the likelihood of a less lucrative contract.
The trade deadline is Feb. 24.