From all indications, new Denver Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri is a pleasant fellow. He's been tasked with one of the most difficult jobs a general manager can face: being forced to trade his disgruntled star player. But now that the latest iteration of a complicated Carmelo Anthony trade may have hit a snag, it's time for Ujiri to face the music and stop doing the hokey pokey. This wishy-washy act is getting tiresome.
The Nuggets reportedly had a complicated three-team deal worked out that would send Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New Jersey for a king's ransom of assets (2009 all-star Devin Harris, 2010 No. 3 pick Derrick Favors, promising Anthony Morrow and two first-round picks, which is much more than most teams get for their star player). The Nets and Detroit Pistons, the other team involved in the trade, were both ready to get the deal done. But it didn't happen, because Denver changed course and now wants the Nets also take Al Harrington.
Sound familiar? It should, because this is the kind of stuff Ujiri and Denver has been doing since September.
This is now the third massive Carmelo Anthony trade the Nuggets have discussed with the New Jersey Nets. If the Nets balk on the inclusion of Harrington, it will become the third trade the Nuggets themselves have killed because they got cold feet.
In September, they worked out a four-team trade with the Nets, Bobcats and Jazz where they would get Favors, the two first-round picks and Andrei Kirilenko's expiring contract, with Harris heading to Charlotte. The Nuggets wanted salary-cap flexibility, and this trade provided it. Naturally, they responded by talking to Philadelphia about adding Andre Iguodala and his big contract into the deal. The Nets grew tired of the waiting, gave Denver an ultimatum, and killed the trade.
Last month, another trade came into fruition, with Denver trading Anthony and Al Harrington to New Jersey for Favors, Troy Murphy's expiring deal and picks. It was basically the same trade they had in September, but with Murphy's expiring contract instead of Kirilenko's. New Jersey was ready to act, but then Denver tried to throw in Billups and J.R. Smith and ... well, you can guess what happened from there. Oh, and the Nuggets also asked for five draft picks, which induced a lot of LOLs around the league.
And now, we're here again, with the Nuggets and Pistons ready to move and the Nuggets suddenly changing the players involved in the trade. Completing a trade this big is difficult, but every time, it's the Nuggets that seem to be ensuring it doesn't happen. Meanwhile, the team is struggling, the home fans are booing and Anthony is doing his best "Both Teams Played Hard" impression.
Cold feet is understandable, but it's tiresome. Just get the deal done already.