Ironically, it appears that Denver's front office has finally gotten worried about losing Carmelo this summer for nothing and realizing that they have to make a deal. And it doesn't take much to quickly realize that the Nets have the most assets to offer in a trade.
Under the new framework of the deal, it appears that the Nets will send Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy's expiring contract, our first round pick this year and most likely the Golden State protected pick next year to the Nuggets for Carmelo. This is definitely a better trade from our perspective as we are giving up less assets than we would have under prior computations of this deal last month. It also begs the question of if Proky really did back out of the negotiations or if that was just a ploy in the media? The fact that we have continued to hold onto the contract of Troy Murphy makes me think that the Nets never really closed the door on the trade negotiations; simply pushing it off the back pages of the newspaper.
This trade definitely makes us a better team on paper from Day 1. Kris Humphries is our starting PF for all intensive purposes - as he is the guy closing out games in the 4th quarter when every possession counts. Carmelo instantly provides us with that go to scorer and exponentially upgrades the SF position. And Troy Murphy is a non-factor for this team.
Assuming that Devin is not dealt in a secondary trade - we could have a starting lineup of Devin, Morrow, Melo, Hump and Brook with a bench featuring Farmar, Sasha, James, Outlaw and Petro. This is a much better lineup than we have had over the past 2 years - and is a legitimate playoff team in the East. I think the addition of Carmelo will be a big help for Brook's continued development and also for his psyche regarding the Nets franchise going forward. That being said, we will have 25 games left to play following the All-Star break and we are currently 7 games behind Indy for the 8th playoff spot. I am not sure that we can make up (even with a motivated Carmelo and Harris) 7 games in 25 games.
The loss of our first round pick is really not a huge issue as this draft has so many question marks in regards to the talent level of players at the top of the draft, along with the very real possibility that many of the top talent (Sullinger, Barnes, Irving) choose to stay in school for another year. Dealing this pick might actually be a blessing in disguise since there is no guarantee of who will be in the draft, where our pick will fall and if we will land Terrence Jones. I would expect the second first round pick will be Golden State's heavily protected pick, as we are unable by league rules to deal back to back first round picks. There is so much uncertainty surrounding that pick due to the protections that this is also not a pick that is truly franchise changing.
As for dealing Derrick Favors, he is still very young and raw and while he has the potential to be a game changing talent, he is still 2 years away from that point (minimum). The problem is that if we don't provide Brook with another star caliber talent - retaining Brook in a couple years might be impossible as he demands a trade or chooses not to resign with NJ/Brooklyn and go to a winning team. Landing Carmelo definitely addresses that situation and could ultimately change the direction and culture of this franchise - if Carmelo is truly motivated to play in NJ. If not, this could become an unmitigated disaster where he tries to force his way across the Hudson next year which would be a death blow to the Nets franchise.
The other thing that I think people are losing sight of (not mentioning) is the recent play of the Lakers. As they continue to lose games, they are sliding down out of the end of the first round. If the season were to end today, that pick would be the 26th pick in the draft......but there is a very real possibility that the pick becomes the 23rd-24th pick which makes a world of difference. If we are dealing Derrick Favors, the most logical target in the draft immediately becomes Kenneth Faried (who I have mentioned multiple times over the past few years) who will be the most prolific rebounder in D1 College Hoops over the past 35 years by the end of the season. He becomes the pefect complement to our front court and can be expected to contribute at the PF position from Day 1 as a rookie.
I also believe that this deal would get the Nets enough under the cap where we would be able to begin negotiating with Kris Humphries and Sasha on signing contract extensions. Hump obviously becomes the most important of the two - as we will need him to be our starting PF next season (a role in which I think he will excel). A PF rotation of Hump and Faried with Carmelo/James at the SF position is far superior (at least over the next few years) than a rotation of Favors/Hump at the 4 and Terrence Jones/Outlaw/James at the 3.
I have not liked the way that this trade has been dragged out in public, but if the trade were to be done in the present form (outlined above) I think that this is a trade the Nets have to make for this season, the move to Brooklyn and for the psyche of Brook Lopez.