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Carmelo Anthony to meet with Nets owner

Kevin McGuire's picture

Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony will spend time this all-star weekend to meet with Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the New Jersey Nets, to discuss a possible future together.

Prokhorov previously stated publicly that the Nets were done with trying to pursue a trade with the Denver Nuggets to bring Anthony to the east coast team but recent reports suggest that the Nets are back in the pursuit of the seven-year small forward out of Syracuse. The Nets may have been influenced to reignite the flame for Anthony once word broke that the New York Knicks were interested in obtaining Anthony. Anthony had turned down a chance to sign a long-term deal with the Nets, killing a previous trade attempt. Prokhorov has pressed for a face-to-face meeting with Anthony and minority owner of the Nets, hip-hop artist Jay-Z, to address the future of the franchise with Anthony and confirm a viable plan to relocate the franchise in Brooklyn, Anthony's hometown.

The Nuggets, who reports say are interested in Nets rookie Derrick Favors, would encourage the meeting. Reports say that the Nuggets are aware that the Nets will not orchestrate a trade for Anthony unless the player agrees to a three-year contract extension worth $65 million. Talks between the teams have taken place while plans for a meeting were being put together. If the Nets can sell Anthony on signing an extension with their team, then a trade may not be far behind.

One report of the other parties involved in a trade between the two franchises shows that the Nets are prepared to send a stockpile of players and draft picks in order to obtain Anthony. In addition to Favors, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy and Ben Uzoh have all been connected to a possible trade. Four first round draft picks have also been reported to be in the deal. The Nets would receive Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden WIlliams, Melvin Ely and Renaldo Balkman in a mega blockbuster deal. It is also possible a third team could be involved in the trade in order to ensure that salaries can be met on all sides.

The New York Knicks, who lost out on LeBron James last summer, could still be a significant player in the Anthony Sweepstakes, especially if the Nets are going to move across the border and in to New York in the future. If the Nets moved in to New York and had one of the biggest names in the NBA playing for them it could harm the Knicks for a period of time. The Knicks, currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, are gun-shy to give up some young prospects but they are believed to be the only major contender for Anthony in addition to the Nets.

Anthony will play in his fourth all-star game this weekend in Los Angeles. Anthony's contract with the Nuggets expires at the end of the regular season. He signed a five-year contract worth $80 million in 2006. At the time the contract was two years longer than contracts signed by LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwayne Wade with the Miami Heat. The contract signed by Anthony allowed him to terminate the deal after the fourth year.

"This is where I want to be," Anthony said when he signed the contract in 2006. "The whole state has embraced me."

Even though Denver is in the playoff hunt, currently the seventh seed in the Western Conference, the pressure is on for the team to make a decision on whether to keep or trade Anthony. Though he is the face of the franchise Denver is unlikely to sign Anthony to another contract extension following this season and if he remains on the roster for the remainder of the regular season Denver would face the danger of losing Anthony and not receiving anything in return. A trade could bring a draft pick or another player to the team.

The NBA's trade deadline is February 24, 2011 at 3 p.m. EST.

Image source: Wikimedia

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