If Carmelo Anthony is traded to the New Jersey Nets as multiple outlets report may happen as soon as Monday, the fate of Nets point guard Devin Harris will be thrown into the air. Anthony would be joined by Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups in New Jersey, and Harris, a former All-Star, would be headed back to Denver.
The Nuggets, however, have sought the extricate from their cap sheet as much long-term salary as possible, with an attempt to shake loose from Al Harrington's tough deal reportedly the latest hold-up in 'Melo negotiations. Harris' contract is seen as rather fair commensurate to his production; he will make $9 million this season, and $17.8 million over the next two years.
But Denver has a young, cheap and promising point guard -- Ty Lawson -- to plug in once Billups departs. As age 23, Lawson seems more in line with the Nuggets' rebuild plans. Harris turns 28 in February.
As such, reports are surfacing that Harris may actually end up going to a fourth team in the deal, or could be flipped by Denver before the February 24 trade deadline. ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Dallas Mavericks have discussed the possibility of bidding for Harris should he head to Denver as a part of the 'Melo trade.
Dallas is well aware that the Nuggets have little need for Harris thanks to the presence of the promising Ty Lawson and are looking to reduce their luxury-tax bill. Also: Harris can create his own shot and thus could provide one key offensive element Dallas has lacked since he left ... although there would be obvious questions about how well he could function alongside Kidd.
The Mavericks, who lost Caron Butler for the season due to a torn patella tendon earlier this month, are seen as needing one more perimeter scorer to make up the difference. Stud scoring guard Rodrigue Beaubois is due back from offseason foot surgery by the end of January, but Harris has more playoff experience (including being a major part of Dallas' NBA Finals run in 2006) and a history of success working with Dirk Nowitzki. Beaubois, in his second season, broke out a few times last season, but hasn't had a large set of NBA minutes to build on.
Harris is young enough to potentially interest non-playoff teams looking to build for next year, but also experienced enough to tempt contenders like Dallas.