Carmelo Anthony trade rumors involving the New Jersey Nets died weeks ago when franchise owner Mikhail Prokhorov publicly declared that the team was no longer interested in bidding for the All-Star forward. The declaration came despite an apparent willingness from 'Melo to speak to Prokhorov and attempt to be convinced to sign an extension with the Nets if they and the Denver Nuggets could reach a price. It was seen as a strong-man move: Prokhorov, facing embarrassment from striking out on 'Melo after months of negotiation, walked away from the table before the table crumbled under Anthony's weight.
As it turns out, not everyone is convinced Prokhorov and the Nets will stay out of the picture through the Feb. 24 NBA trade deadline. Al Iannazzone of the Bergen Record, who has been among the reporters doing wonderful work digging through the 'Melo mire, cites a source who thinks the Nets could re-engage the Nuggets this weekend.
Conveniently enough, Prokhorov, Nets GM Billy King and Anthony himself will all be in the same location.
Trade talks will heat up over All-Star weekend, when team owners and executives descend on Los Angeles for the annual event, to attend some meetings and exchange trade proposals. Prokhorov and King will represent the Nets.
If the Nets and Nuggets reopen dialogue, it's possible Prokhorov and Anthony, who was voted a starter for the West All-Star team, finally could meet and discuss a contract extension. The Nets won't trade for Anthony if he doesn't sign one.
NBA All-Star Weekend is much like baseball's Winter Meetings -- face-to-face contact is the lubrication of deals in all walks of business, but perhaps especially in sports. That All-Star Weekend happens a week before the trade deadline is really extraordinarily convenient. That 'Melo will be there? Icing on the cake.
Observers might sigh at the thought of traveling down this road again. But remember that the Nets have the best package, the biggest need and longest history of engagement here. There's a reason New Jersey was such a big favorite in the 'Melo sweepstakes. It just makes the most sense.