Carmelo Anthony Smiles

Nuggets, Nets, Pistons three-team ‘Melo trade talks heat up again


Two different reports have the much-discussed three-team trade that would have Carmelo Anthony landing in New Jersey heating up again.

Those talks were moving very fast last weekend but reportedly lost momentum early this week when the Denver Nuggets pushed for the Nets to take on Al Harrington and his four-year, $28 million contract as part of the package. The Nuggets were reportedly the team that slowed the pace down and it may have been outgoing owner Stan Kroenke who pushed to move more salary as part of the deal.

TNT sideline reporter and writer David Aldridge said during Thursday night’s Nuggets/Heat game that he was told the talks had started up again in earnest and something could be done as soon as next week.

That report was confirmed by the Bergin Record in New Jersey.

After the game Anthony himself said he would be playing for the Nuggets in a Saturday and Sunday back-to-back in Cleveland and San Antonio.

This is a complex, 14-to-16 player, three-team trade that would end up sending Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton to New Jersey; bring Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, some other players and a couple first-round picks to Denver; and give Detroit Troy Murphy and Johan Petro as well as picks.

The stumbling blocks are two-fold. One is Harrington and the fact nobody wants to take on that contract. It is unknown if he is still part of the deal.

The other is whether or not Anthony would sign a deal with the Nets and go to New Jersey. On one hand it’s difficult to imagine his agent working this hard on a deal if he didn’t already talk to Anthony about signing the three-year, $65 million extension. On the other hand, numerous reports have Anthony not being sold on the move and still waffling on New Jersey and the future of that franchise.

As Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski said today, there are a lot of chefs in this kitchen, and a lot of different agendas. That includes a lot of people in New York, as the Knicks wait in the wings trying to make a deal to get Anthony. But in the end it comes down simply to can these three teams agree on a deal? And if they can, does Carmelo Anthony really want to go to New Jersey for a couple of years, then take the Nets (or whatever they will be called then) into Brooklyn?

We may finally be getting close to the answer of the first question, and not long after we will find out about the second.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.