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NetsDaily Off-Season Report #19

There are fans out there who (not us) some might classify as "Melo Yellow", those who are uncertain of Carmelo Anthony's value or afraid the Nets will give up too much should trade rumors become trade discussions become an actual trade.  We look at Melo's history and the history of superstar trades to see whether Brook Lopez and/or Derrick Favors might be included. We also start a new feature, the Prokhorov Money Watch, reveal the other international Net on the roster, and closer to home, examine the history of Jersey Guys on the Nets.  Also, we can't get enough of that Nenad Krstic chair-throwing incident.  I mean, really Curly!

Every Sunday, we’ll be updating the Nets’ off-season with bits and pieces of information, gossip, etc. to help take the edge off missing the playoffs, relying on the Nets’ beat reporters and others who have slipped interesting stuff into larger stories and blogs...not to mention our own reporting.

Melo Wins

No matter you want to say about Carmelo Anthony, he wins...period.

He is one of two active NBA players who have won an NCAA championship and an Olympic gold medal (as well as an Olympic bronze and a gold medal in the FIBA Americas Tournament).  Should he win an NBA title, he will be one of only seven players to ever complete that trifecta.  Of the other six, five are in the Hall of Fame...Clyde Lovellette, Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Jerry Lucas, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Quinn Buckner also completed that circuit.

Moreover, as Woody Paige of the Denver Post points out, he turned the Denver franchise around after being drafted in 2003.

"In Carmelo Anthony's seven seasons in Denver, the Nuggets have won 338 regular-season games, averaging just over 48 victories per season, finished first or second in the division six times, reached the playoffs in every season and advanced to the conference finals once (and, yes, lost in the first round all other years).

"In the eight seasons prior to Anthony's arrival, the Nuggets won 200 games, an average of 25 per season and NEVER made the playoffs."

Claims that he's not a winner are simply wrong. Beyond that, his former teammate, Johan Petro, says his passion and work ethic are inspirational.

What a Melo Trade Might Look Like

Sometimes we mine old data looking for new Nuggets (excuse the pun...or don't).  This time, we're going to take a look at the list of recent superstar trades to help figure out what a Melo trade might look like.

Below is a sampling of the trades of big stars (We included Kenyon Martin because we are a Nets site).  As we've noted in the past, stars are more often traded not for equal value, aka, other stars, but for a combination of what could be called rebuilding assets: young players, draft picks, expiring contracts and cash. 

The big question is whether the Nets would have to give up one of their two big young players, Brook Lopez and/or Derrick Favors, for Anthony.  If history is any judge, the answer is no.  Team acquiring the superstar resists doing that.  In each of the cases below, good young players or draft picks went in the other direction but with few exceptions, those good young players were not top picks still on their rookie contracts.  In fact, not one top five pick still on his rookie contract was traded away by any of these teams. 

Take a look...expiring contracts are marked with an asterisk and the players ultimately taken with traded picks are in parentheses.  Also, we provide more detail on the Nets transactions.

--June 25, 2009: The Orlando Magic acquired Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson from the New Jersey Nets for Courtney Lee, Tony Battie* and Rafer Alston*. The Nets also acquired two trade exceptions, one for $1.23 million [which was used to acquire Chris Quinn] and the other for $3.73 million [which was used to acquire Kris Humphries]. 

--June 25, 2009: The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired center Shaquille O'Neal* from the Phoenix Suns for forward/center Ben Wallace*, a second-round selection in the 2010 NBA draft (Dwayne Collins) and cash considerations.

--November 3, 2008: The Detroit Pistons acquired guard Allen Iverson* from the Denver Nuggets for guard Chauncey Billups, forward Antonio McDyess and center Cheikh Samb*.

--February 18, 2008: The Dallas Mavericks acquired Jason Kidd, Malik Allen*, and Antoine Wright* from the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop*, Trenton Hassell, Maurice Ager, a signed and traded Keith Van Horn*, two future first round picks (Ryan Anderson in 2008 and Jordan Crawford in 2010), and cash considerations believed to be $3 million. The Nets also received a $3.3 million trade exception [which was used to sign and trade Keyon Dooling].

--February 6, 2008: The Miami Heat acquired Marcus Banks and Shawn Marion from the Phoenix Suns for Shaquille O'Neal.

--February 2, 2008: The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol and a 2010 second round draft pick (Devin Ebanks) from the Memphis Grizzlies for Kwame Brown*, Javaris Crittenton, a signed and traded Aaron McKie*, the draft rights to the #48 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Marc Gasol, and two future first round picks, (Donte Greene in 2008 and Greivis Vasquez in 2010).

--July 31, 2007: The Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green*, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff*, Sebastian Telfair, the return to Minnesota of the future first round pick that was initially traded to Boston on January 26, 2006 (Jonny Flynn), and a future first round pick from Boston (Wayne Ellington). Simultaneous with the trade, Kevin Garnett removed his ability to opt out after the 2007-2008 season and then signed a multi-year contract extension with the Boston Celtics which begins in the 2009-2010 season.

--June 28, 2007: The Boston Celtics acquired Ray Allen and the draft rights to the #35 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Glen Davis, from the Seattle Supersonics for Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, the draft rights to the #5 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Jeff Green, and the better of Boston's own 2008 second round pick and Portland's own 2008 second round pick (Trent Plaisted).

--December 19, 2006: The Denver Nuggets acquired Allen Iverson and Ivan McFarlin* from the Philadelphia 76ers for Andre Miller, Joe Smith*, and two 2007 first round draft picks (Daequan Cook and Petteri Koponen).

--February 23, 2005: The Philadelphia 76ers acquired forwards Chris Webber, Michael Bradley* and Matt Barnes* from the Sacramento Kings for forwards Kenny Thomas, Corliss Williamson and Brian Skinner.

-- December 17, 2004: The New Jersey Nets acquired Vince Carter from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two first-round draft picks (Joey Graham and Renaldo Balkman).

--July 15, 2004: The New Jersey Nets signed Kenyon Martin to a seven-year, $91 million contract with a $1.5 million signing bonus and a player option after the 6th season, then traded him to Denver for three future first round picks (Joey Graham, Renaldo Balkman and Marcus Williams). The Nets also received a $5.2 million trade exception [which was used to acquire Marc Jackson after the Shareef Abdur Rahim deal fell apart.]

--July 14, 2004: The Los Angeles Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant*, a 2006 first round draft pick (Jordan Farmar) and a 2007 second round pick (Renaldas Seibutis).

The best young players --not draft picks or draft rights but players-- moved in those nine deals were: Devin Harris for Jason Kidd, Al Jefferson for Kevin Garnett and Lamar Odom and Caron Butler for Shaquille O'Neal.  All but Butler were on their second NBA contracts and in two of the cases --Harris and Jefferson-- the young players were expendable, even extraneous, because the players coming back played the same position they did.  That leaves Butler.  Drafted at #10 in 2002, he had an excellent rookie year then regressed in his sophomore year, hurt by injuries. He is the exception, but then again 'Melo isn't Shaq.

So if Lopez or Favors were included in a deal for Anthony, it would not fit with the recent history of big trades.  And note as well that this would most likely have to be a sign-and-trade, meaning Anthony would have to agree to go along.  Is he likely to agree to a lop-sided trade where his new team would be giving up key pieces? You'd think so.

Prokhorov Money Watch

There was more evidence this week that Mikhail Prokhorov is spending money on the Nets.  Beyond the net payout of $10.5 million in the Troy Murphy-Courtney Lee trade, there was word from ShamSports that the Nets had given out $185,000 in "limited salary protection" to Sean May, Brian Zoubek and Ben Uzoh: $100,000 to May, $50,000 to Zoubek and $35,000 to Uzoh.  It's the first time since 2007 that the Nets have used partial guarantees to bring in free agents...and the total is more than nine times what the Nets gave Robert Hite back then.

We don't know how much Prokhorov has spent--or committed--since taking over May 12, but the number is increasingly significant.  Yes, he saved some money in the switch-off between Rod Thorn ($5.5 million) and Kiki Vandeweghe ($1.75 million) for Billy King ($2 million) and in taking on three coaches--Avery Johnson, Sam Mitchell and Larry Krystkowiak--who are still being paid by their former teams.  But he also paid out $3 million in the Yi Jianlian salary dump and agreed to pay the NJSEA $4 million to break the team's lease on the IZOD and was willing to front load the contract offers for Anthony Morrow and Tyrus Thomas.  That's in addition to the hiring of new assistant coaches, scouts, a rehab specialist and other support staff or the purchase of state-of-the-art video and training equipment.

Something we'd like to see next: the locker room improvements at the PNY Center and the new locker room at the Prudential Center, which we are told Prokhorov is taking a personal interest in.

The Other International Net

With the FIBA World Championships about to begin, three Nets will be watching most closely.  Brook Lopez is one of course. He had to drop out off Team USA because of the effects of mononucleosis. Johan Petro, a former member of the French National Team can be expected to watch "Les Bleus" compete on the world stage. 

Then there's rookie Ben Uzoh.  American-born Uzoh has toyed with the idea of playing with the Nigerian National Team, even holds a Nigerian passport, reports ShamSports.  His parents, Francis and Caroline Uzoh, were born in Nigeria and that parentage qualifies him as a member of the team. They could have used him. Nigeria, traditionally one of Africa's top teams, didn't make the Worlds this year.   It wouldn't be a big stretch to see Uzoh in international competition in the future.  In the 2008 Olympics, eight of 12 members of Team Nigeria and the coach were U.S. citizens.  In international basketball, it happens.

Not the Nenad We Knew!

Wow, what can we say. Nenad Krstic, that sweet Serbian kid with the neato nickname ("Curly"), has a dark side.  Krstic was taken into custody overnight Thursday by Greek authorities after the 27-year old grabbed an opposing player by the throat and threw a chair that drew blood of another Greek player. A  fight broke out between Greece and Serbia during a "friendly" (maybe that terminology needs updating) match in front of a crowd of  5,000 fans at the Athens Olympic Arena in Greece.

FIBA is expected to take disciplinary action against Krstic who expressed no remorse.  It's not out of the question that the NBA will too. Who knew?

Jersey Boys

We recall reading a few years back that Malik Allen of Willingboro H.S. was the 13th New Jersey native to play with the Nets.  So that would make Troy Murphy, of Sparta and Delbarton School, the 14th, if our recollection is correct. Unless of course you count Brian Zoubek of Haddonfield H.S. who was signed to a non-guaranteed deal before the Nets traded for Murphy.  So who are the others?  We can think of most, with some help from Basketball Reference: Mike O'Koren, of Jersey City and Hudson Catholic H.S.; Tate George, of Newark and Union Catholic H.S. in Scotch Plains; Roy Hinson, of Trenton and Franklin Township H.S.; Eric Murdock, of Trenton and Bridgewater-Raritan H.S.; Chris Gatling of Elizabeth and its high school, Bill Willoughby of Englewood and Dwight Morrow H.S.; Rafael Addison of Jersey City and Snyder H.S.; and Eric Williams, of Newark and Malcolm X Shabazz H.S.  Then there's three guys born out of state, but who grew up and played high school ball in New Jersey: Rory Sparrow of Paterson East Side H.S.; Dave Wohl of East Brunswick H.S.; and Edgar Jones, of Barringer H.S. in Newark.  Do they count?  We missing anyone?

What about those 1973-74 ABA champions that featured four Jersey guys: Bill Melchionni of Cherry Hill and Bishop Eustace H.S.; Billy Paultz of River Edge and River Dell H.S.; Brian Taylor of Perth Amboy and its high school, and bench warmer Rich Rinaldo of Jersey City? What about them and Rick Barry of Elizabeth and Roselle Park H.S.?  Do they count? They played for the Nets but never actually played for the Nets in New Jersey.  We await a ruling and a full accounting.

Final Note

The Nets are gathering back in New Jersey.  Devin Harris announced last week he was back, via Twitter, of course.  The four rookies have been around most of the summer, as has Terrence Williams, who's been spending time with his sons and his mother (who he's buying a new house for) in Seattle. 

And so as summer starts to wind down for all of us (five more Off-Season Reports!), we leave you with this tweet photo from Sean May, who is honeymooning in Turks and Caicos. See you soon, Sean.