On Sunday Carmelo Anthony will put on an West All Star jersey with a Nuggets logo on it. Could that be the last time he wears a jersey with that logo on it? Time will tell.
As the festivities in Los Angeles are starting the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks are offering their best packages to Nuggets management and hoping for a meeting with a man that could make their franchise.
Which deal will prevail the mega deal? The Nets or the deal that will send Carmelo back home to New York?
The Nuggets have long stressed their desire for salary cap relief and draft picks for their All Star. The Nets have offered the draft picks, four, and the Knicks have offered cap relief and immediate contributors in return. However, each deal hinges on Anthony signing an extension with the team he is dealt to, and due to the amount each team is giving up, both will back out if they don't receive that promise.
Either way if a deal is made it could signal a fire sale in Denver which could see four of their five starters being shipped out.
Let's take a look at each deal:
The Nets have offered Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy, Ben Uzoh and four first round draft picks in return for Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Melvin Ely, Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams.
The Knicks have offered Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry and a potential first round pick as a result of trade of Anthony Randolph.
The Nets deal will give the Nuggets the draft picks they desire; the Nets have five over the the next two years, two of their own and one each from Houston, Golden State and Los Angeles. Troy Murphy will be the expiring deal they sought, and he will likely be flipped with one of the newly acquired picks for more cap relief.
Ben Uzoh will provide some bench depth as he is scheduled to make a cap friendly $473,604 this year. With a qualifying offer of $963,872 next season, Murphy's doesn't figure into the teams long term plans, and his deal is worth $11.9 million.
Favors and Harris are the biggest pieces of the deal and therefore have the biggest salary cap ramifications. Harris is due $17.8 million over the next two seasons and Favors, still on his rookie deal, is due $4.4 million next year and $10 million over the following two through team options.
In short if the Nuggets accept this deal, next season they will have $38 million in committed salary plus what salary they had in the draft.
Harris could be a candidate to be flipped to a team with a trade exception such as Cleveland or Toronto or could be packaged with another Denver starter like J.R. Smith or Nene in another deal to clear more cap room. It is safe to say if Favors lands in Denver, he is the one sure bet to stay put.
The New York Knicks have been hoping to land Carmelo since they missed out on LeBron James over the summer. To get him they have offered the Nuggets a majority of their young talent including their point guard that they just signed this offseason. The Knicks recently gave the Nuggets a choice between Landry Fields and Danilo Gallinari, and as of tonight the Nuggest requested Gallinari to be included in the deal.
This deal with the Knicks would land them an immense amount of wing talent to help the team recover from the loss of Anthony. Chandler and Gallinari are still on their rookie deals. Chandler has a qualifying offer of $3,099,851 for next season and Gallinari will be owed $4.1 million next season and a has a qualifying offer of $5.8 million for the 2012/2013 season.
Eddy Curry would provide the expiring deal relief, and his deal is a little less than Murphy's at $11.2 million. Raymond Felton would give the team a steady point guard to replace Chauncey Billups and his deal is better than Harris's deal as he is only has one more year on his deal worth $7.5 million.
Based on the assumption Anthony would sign an extension with either team, the Nets deal is better than the Knicks since they can offer what the Nuggets have wanted all along, multiple draft picks plus the young talent of Favors and Harris.
With two solid deals in place the pressure is now on Carmelo as he must chose whether he wants to stay in Denver, sign an extension with the Nets or Knicks or take his chances as a free agent under a new CBA.