The consensus from around the NBA, Adria Wojnarowski, Chris Sheridan, heck, even my own TrueHoop mothership was that yesterday’s press conference by Mikhail Prokhorov which officially “killed” the Carmelo Anthony trade talks was that the Russian billionaire did this all to save face, because he knew deep down Anthony would never sign an extension with the Nets.
Let me be on the record in saying that’s nonsense. Sure, that storyline sounds great, and given the Nets history of futility, makes sense, but it conveniently ignores too many other facts: Anthony had reportedly agreed back in September to sign with the Nets before Denver backed out of talks, the latest iteration of this trade was orchestrated by ‘Melo’s agent Leon Rose (would he do this without Anthony’s permission?), why would the Nets and Nuggets have engaged in a very public trade discussion, blowing up both their seasons, if there wasn’t ANY indication through back channels that Anthony would sign with the Nets?
Then there’s a piece in today’s Denver Post:
When asked directly whether he or his agents had killed the trade by refusing to entertain a contract extension with the Nets, Anthony firmly and repeatedly said: “No.”
What smells closer to the truth is that Denver sports baron Stan Kroenke pushed so hard and so long for the Nets to sweeten the deal that Prokhorov finally shoved back. A pushing match between two filthy-rich franchise owners choked the life from the trade.
Obviously, I’m allowed to believe what I want to believe, but as the post-mortems of this deal come out, I really hope people think of all of the facts from the past few months, instead of callously concluding this is the Nets being irrelevant again. This idea that the Nets had to get Anthony no matter what (but within reason?!) so they could “matter’ again is ridiculous. They are sitting on a ton of assets with the richest owner in sports. There are other ways to improve and I think Prokhorov finally came to his senses on that.
And quite frankly, with a lockout looming, is ANYONE in the NBA going to be relevant in due time? So snicker all you want while you think about that.