Deal Not Dead But Optimism Fades As Denver Rejects Nets' Offers

LOS ANGELES CA - JANUARY 05: (FILE PHOTO) Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 5 2011 in Los Angeles California. It's been reported that the New Jersey Nets are in serious negotiations for a three-team trade that would trade Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets January 10 2011. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

If they go along with the Nets' offer, the Nuggets would save nearly $20 million, including luxury taxes; get a former All-Star in Devin Harris and one of the game's top three point shooters in Anthony Morrow; a $12 million trade exception and three first rounders (including Derrick Favors) that could all wind up as lottery picks.  But that's apparently not enough. 

Chris Broussard tweets, "NJ's changed parameters of deal several times but nothing to Den's liking yet. NJ leaving for 4-game road trip tomorrow & all players going."  The impediment, according to Broussard and others, concerns Al Harrington, who the Nuggets want moved.  The Nets would prefer the Nuggets drop the demand but are still looking for a fourth team to bring into the deal. There's also Denver's demand that another first round pick be involved.

Another impediment, reports Adrian Wojnarowski, is the Nuggets' anger with leaks of trade details.  So angry, Woj reports, that Denver threatened to trade 'Melo to the Knicks. As a result, talks have gone underground.  While the deal "is definitely not dead...they ain't 'on the 10-yard line' anymore", adds Broussard.  Meanwhile, there are reports, including from Chris Mannix, that the Rockets are ready to pick up the pieces if the Nets/Nuggets negotiations fall through.

Still, as Peter Vecsey reports, there's no doubt in the Nets' camp that if the deal goes through in whatever form, 'Melo will sign that extension. If not now, when? There's some suggestion that January 17 might work.  It's the end of the Nets short west coast swing and the day before Mikhail Prokhorov returns to the US for an Evening of Russian Culture on January 19.

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