Carmelo Anthony trade rumors swirl anew following the "death" of the possible 4-team trade (which did NOT work when I tried putting it into the ESPN trade machine for some reason):
Denver Nuggets receive: Derrick Favors, Andrei Kirilenko, New Jersey's 2011 1st round pick (presumably unprotected), and a 1st round pick from the Golden State Warriors (top-7 protected in 2012 and 2013, top-6 protected in 2014 - after which it is converted into 2nd round picks in 2014 and 2016);
New Jersey Nets receive: Carmelo Anthony;
According to sources "close to the deal" the sticking point was not Anthony's willingness to sign a contract extension with the Nets, but rather the Nuggets desire to not take on the extra salary and accompanying luxury tax. The deal would saddle the Nuggets with approximately $10M in extra expenses this season.
Throughout all of the trade rumors the indication is that Denver would like to get a young front line player (C or PF) with star potential, two 1st round picks, and salary cap relief for Anthony. However, given the recent turn of events it seems that they also don't want to add more salary this season to make it happen. As the trade deadline approaches it will be interesting to see if they relax a bit on their demands.
Personally, I could see the following scenario unfolding by the all-star break:
Denver suffers from bad chemistry because of Anthony's reluctance to be there (similar to what happened to the Wolves in 2004-05 when Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell brought down the team because McHale refused to give them raises/extensions), and are only a few games over .500; and
Minnesota witnesses Michael Beasley takes his game to another level because he thrives as the go-to player and relishes the role of team leader (that he seems to be developing in training camp), while Kevin Love efficiently puts up a very respectable 16 ppg and 12 rpg, but the team still remains in the Western Conference cellar because they still haven't figured out how to pull out close games.
Facing the possibility of losing Anthony to free agency in the summer, Denver becomes desperate to trade him while they can still get good value. Enter the Timberwolves with this trade offer:
Denver Nuggets receive: Kevin Love, Kosta Koufos, Tayshaun Prince, Minnesota's 2014 1st round draft pick (unprotected), and a 1st round pick from Memphis (lottery protected in 2011, top-12 protected in 2012, top-10 protected in 2013 and top-9 protected in 2014 and 2015 - after which it is converted into cash);
Minnesota Timberwolves receive: Carmelo Anthony (provided he signs an extension);
Detroit Pistons receive: Jonny Flynn, a trade exception worth approximately $8M, and a 1st round pick from Utah (top-16 protected in 2011, lottery protected in 2012, and top-12 protected in 2013 - which in 2014 becomes a top-9 protected "pick swap" at the option of the Wolves or a 2014 second round pick if the swap does not take place);
While it seems like Anthony is amenable to signing an extension for a(ny) team on the East Coast, the question remains whether or not he'd be willing to sign an extension with the Wolves. If he would though, then that gives us the #1 scoring option on the wing that we've been seeking. It would surely hurt to give up Love - who I believe is on par with Anthony in terms of overall value as a basketball player - but in this scenario Anthony provides our team with something that it needs more than what Love provides so I'd be willing to pull the trigger. I can only imagine that having Anthony to run with him, and not having as many PG's on our roster, would only make it more likely for Ricky Rubio to join the team next year. Furthermore, trading Flynn would also help ensure that our record after the deadline wouldn't improve so much that we would end up losing our 1st round pick to the Clippers this year.
Denver gets what they are looking for and doesn't end up with a massive trade exception and nothing else like Cleveland and Toronto. Love is a young front-line player that should get consideration for the all-star team every season over the next 10 years. They would be able to give Koufos enough minutes to see him develop into a solid NBA Center - I envision him being on par with Chris Kaman if he reaches his potential. Prince would come off their books this summer to give them some cap space. Meanwhile, they actually reduce their salary by about $1M this season and thereby save the owner $2M.
Detroit will be aggressively seeking a trade for Prince by the deadline, and they could do worse than to get a young point guard and a mid-to-late 1st rounder for him. Sure, it's possible that a contender might offer them a decent package to rent him for a title run, but it's much more likely that a team will be looking to off-load a bad contract for him by throwing in a young player and a pick. At least in this trade they wouldn't be stuck with a bad contract to go with the young player and the pick.
Altogether, this seems a bit far-fetched but not entirely outside the realm of possibility. What say you CH? Does this seem like a horribly optimistic scenario? Would it be better to use our cap space to stockpile draft picks and (even more) young players with potential by facilitating trades for other teams?