The New Jersey Nets have ended their lengthy pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced Wednesday evening.
In a highly anticipated press conference at the Nets' Prudential Center in Newark, the Russian billionaire who bought the team about a year ago told the media that negotiations for 'Melo, a perennial All-Star, had taken too long and cost New Jersey too many games. He also said that his decision to move on from the 'Melo sweepstakes was final.
Prokhorov arrived in the United States this week in advance of Wednesday's Russian Heritage Night as the Nets host Andrei Kirilenko and the Utah Jazz. Reports suggested he would try to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Anthony in Denver on Tuesday. The meeting never happened, and it remains unclear as to whether the Nets received permission from the Denver Nuggets to speak to 'Melo or whether Prokhorov reached out to Anthony.
'Melo announced in August 2010 that he would not sign the three-year, $65 million contract extension offered by the Nuggets, and immediately became the subject of endless trade speculation. Anthony is reported to be focused on a trade to New York; the Nets will move to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season. Earlier on Wednesday, reports surfaced that the Anthony's representatives were trying to get the Chicago Bulls to bid for 'Melo.