What pushed New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov to cut off trade discussions with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons on Wednesday? Perhaps to no surprise, it was Carmelo Anthony dragging his feet on negotiating a contract extension with the Nets. And without that security, the Nets pulled out of the deal.
According to CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger, the Nets understood that they had to make a pitch to Anthony for agreeing to an extension. But Anthony seemed noncommittal about even scheduling a meeting, which pushed Prokhorov over the edge.
At first, Anthony agreed to meet Tuesday with a Nets contingent led by owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Then, word got back to the Nets that Tuesday wasn’t going to work; maybe Thursday would be better. At that point, there was no firm commitment from Anthony, as Prokhorov aptly described in his bombshell news conference canceling the deal Wednesday night.
“Everything was very mixed information,” Prokhorov said. “I never received any straightforward information.”
A source told Berger that Anthony would only consider signing an extension with the Nuggets or New York Knicks (presumed to be his preferred destination), and maybe even a third team, believed to be the Chicago Bulls. But the Bulls likely wouldn’t be interested in giving up what a trade for Anthony would require.
The Pistons’ involvement in the deal seemed contingent on the Nets’ participation, as they already had arrangements to trade Richard Hamilton to New Jersey. Berger’s report didn’t mention whether or not Detroit could be involved in any other trade offers for Anthony. But it seems unlikely that any team willing to take Anthony without a contract extension would also accept Hamilton’s salary.