Four-team trade for Anthony officially dead

Carmelo Anthony reported to the Nuggets, but didn't commit to staying. "Whatever the future holds," he told reporters in Denver, "it holds."
(AP photo)

With negotiations on a four-team trade that would have sent Carmelo Anthony(notes) to New Jersey having died, the Nets have become less optimistic about their ability to strike a deal for the All-Star forward, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

“At least for now,” one source said.

The Nets “need some closure on the matter,” the source said. The Denver Nuggets had shown only an inclination to dabble in talks, but not follow through on any deal. All the uncertainty had become too big a distraction for a new team like the Nets with a new coach and a young rookie like Derrick Favors, who would have gone to Denver in the proposed trade.

The Nuggets also would have received forward Andrei Kirilenko(notes) and two first-round draft picks in the trade, which involved the Jazz and Charlotte Bobcats.

The four-team trade fell apart when Denver kept trying to include more of its players in deals to spare themselves a bigger luxury-tax bill that would’ve come with the arrivals of Kirilenko and Favors, sources said. The proposed trade would have added $4.5 million in salary to their payroll plus another $4.5 million in luxury tax.

Sources said the Nuggets had strong interest in trying to do a deal with Philadelphia that included swingman Andre Iguodala, but the Sixers’ inability to get a commitment out of Anthony that he would sign a contract extension with them made the point moot.

One of the biggest obstacles with cutting a deal with the Nuggets, league executives said, continues to be the peculiar and unclear power structure of the Denver front office. What had been the case under the previous regime has carried over with new vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, the owner’s son, Josh Kroenke, and adviser Bret Bearup: No one talking to the Nuggets is sure who’s in charge, who’s making the decision and who can get everyone in agreement.

Anthony arrived at Denver’s training camp for media day on Monday, but didn’t engage in much of the normal promotional shots for the team’s Altitude television network and game-night operations, a league source said.

The Nuggets star had hoped a deal would’ve been in place before he reported for the start of camp, a league source said, but decided against openly criticizing the organization in his media remarks. Instead, he was noncommittal about his future in Denver. He can become a free agent at the end of the season and so far has rejected a three-year, $65 million contract extension.

“There’s been a lot of speculation, a lot of rumors going on this summer about where I’m going to end up, the Nuggets want to trade me, I want to be traded,” Anthony said. “That’s for my team and front office to discuss. I’m here to focus on basketball and training camp.”

Meanwhile, the uncertainty that’s surrounding teams involved in the talks is starting to take a predictable toll on egos and emotions at training camps. Even if a deal for Anthony never materializes, New Jersey coach Avery Johnson has serious repairs to make with Nets point guard Devin Harris(notes), a league source told Yahoo! Sports on Monday.

Harris had been a huge advocate for Johnson with former Nets officials by endorsing the hiring of Johnson over the summer, and a source says Harris is feeling “a little put off” that the coach is so quickly looking to send him out of New Jersey as part of a trade for Anthony.

As part of the original four-team trade proposal, Harris was destined for Charlotte and wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about the move. And that was especially true after Johnson had spent the summer selling Harris so hard on how much he needed him to help sell the coach’s program in New Jersey.

Johnson and Harris had an up-and-down relationship in Dallas, but Harris believed the Nets desperately needed Johnson’s discipline and structure, and pushed hard with former president Rod Thorn for Johnson’s hiring. Harris, 27, came to the Nets in 2008 as part of the Jason Kidd(notes) trade with Dallas. He had his best season as a pro in 2008-09 when he averaged 21.3 points and 6.9 assists.

Yahoo! Sports’ NBA reporter Marc J. Spears contributed to this story.


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Updated Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010