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Donnie Walsh: Prokhorov pushed Knicks into paying more for Melo

Mike Stobe

Fred Kerber looks at the MeloDrama nearly three years later, talking to a number of the key players. One of them, Donnie Walsh, then Knicks GM, admits for the first time that James Dolan didn't want Mikhail Prokhorov to win and so paid more for Carmelo Anthony.

"I would have to agree with that," Walsh told Kerber. "He came in and if we didn’t give Denver what they wanted then the threat was Carmelo was going to go to Brooklyn, which in our situation would not have been good.

"So we said it was either, ‘He was going to be in Brooklyn or he’s going to be here.’ I do think the Nets were a viable threat and so we paid a bigger price than we wanted to."

Prokhorov, in fact, told Darren Rovell that that was his plan: if he couldn't have Melo, he would force the cross-town rivals to pay through the nose.

I think we’ve made a very good tactical decision to force (the) Knicks just to pay as much as they can. So I think it’s very good, it’s very interesting, it’s very competitive," the Nets owner and Dolan nemesis told Rovell.

Then, the day after the Knicks traded for Anthony, the Nets traded lesser assets to the Jazz for Deron Williams.

So who won? Walsh thinks all around it's a wash.

"It helped both teams. Denver got good players. True, Gallinari is hurt, but Wilson has played well and Mozgov has become a good player," Walsh said. "The Knicks, they got Melo, the second leading scorer in the league, definitely a guy you can build around."