Carmelo Anthony Trade Rumors are reaching a fever pitch as the news surrounding his possible exit from Denver continues to swirl.
The latest as of last night was that Anthony has not told anyone he'll sign the extension to make the proposed deal work, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard. According to the report, it doesn't mean the mega-trade that would send 'Melo to the Nets is dead, but it does cloud things up a bit.
For all intents and purposes, the Nets need Anthony to sign the deal to make it work and protect themselves in this trade. Here are 10 reasons why the Nets can't make the deal without a new contract.
Denver has all the leverage in this trade, and it's showing. The Nuggets are the ones holding it up and also the ones who are now asking the Nets or other teams to take Al Harrington's four-year, $28 million contract off their hands. For the Nets sake, they need to make sure that they get fair value and a fair shake from the Nuggets, which would mean making sure they can secure Anthony long term.
Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton were a great combination when they were in Detroit. But that was a while ago and Hamilton especially has aged. If the Anthony deal goes through and he doesn't sign the extension, the Nets are left with Billups' contract (assuming he doesn't ask for a buyout) and Hamilton's contract as well, which has at least two years at $12 million-plus a year. That's a good amount of money for two aging players.
The Nuggets may be making the deal, but Leon Rose seems to be calling the shots. Rose is Anthony's agent, and according to reports he's the one who set up for Anthony to be paired with Billups and Rip Hamilton in New Jersey. Obviously Billups I can understand, but Hamilton at this stage of his career? Either way, Rose has been very influential so far, and one has to wonder if that will play a factor later on.
All this talk about whether or not Anthony really wants to sign the extension could be a sign that Anthony really has no desire to go to New Jersey. Now, if the deal falls through, then it's a moot point. But that's also a lot of money due to a man who doesn't really want to be there if the Nets make a trade. Combine that with acquiring Billups and Hamilton, and that's a large salary commitment.
The Nets have tried to forge a foothold in the New York market for years, and have a small but devoted fanbase. If Anthony doesn't sign that extension, it will be hard for the Nets to sell to their fans that they have to rebuild and restock yet again.
Of course, the dark horse in all of this are the Knicks. Denver has already threatened to back out of the Nets deal and trade him to the Knicks if the Nets don't play ball, and it's not a secret that Anthony would want to play for the Knicks. Watching Carmelo walk away in the summer without an extension and walk right to the Knicks would be a huge blow to the Nets.
Yes, it's going to happen eventually. The Nets will move into the brand-new Barclays Center in Coney Island and become the Brooklyn Basketball Team To Be Named Later. Losing out on Anthony won't keep the Nets in the Prudential Center, but the repercussions from losing Anthony or not keeping him long-term would be a tough way to go into the relocation.
If you look at all the reports about the trade, one thing that keeps coming up is the Nets' desire to land another big name star in free agency down the line, namely Chris Paul in 2012. The Nets came up empty last summer and would definitely be active this summer as well, and losing out on a name like Anthony or having to re-negotiate for him in the open market would make a big dent in their plans and possibly cost them a big-name free agent.
The Nets are giving up the most in the trade in terms of actual numbers with Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and others going back to Denver in the deal. If Anthony doesn't sign and then leaves after the trade, it's the kind of trade that could set a franchise back years. The Nets should know that, lest we forget the trade the Nets pulled off to get Vince Carter a few years ago.
The bottom line is that the Nets need to make the trade to protect their own interests. If Anthony doesn't sign the deal and is traded, what's keeping him from going into free agency and choosing his own suitor? In that case, the only chance the Nets would have to win with Anthony would be this year, and even in the East, the Nets aren't making the playoffs this season.