It remains the ultimate final hurdle for the complex three-team trade that many reports now say could be completed early next week, after the Nets finish their current road trip (the final game is Sunday in San Antonio):
Will Anthony agree to a three-year, $65 million to play in New Jersey?
He wants the Nets to sell him on their future plans, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo.
“ ‘Melo can’t have cold feet now,” said one organizational source involved in the talks. “It’s too far down the line. He’s the one who wanted this.”
Anthony hasn’t ruled out committing to the Nets, but he wants a clearer vision of their plans for the future. Anthony’s preference is to wait to see what other trade options become available for him, the sources said.
According to a source of Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix (via twitter) the Nets had a plan for this:
Nets “expected that and have a plan to do just that.”expected
He adds that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is scheduled to be in the United States next Wednesday and the goal is to have the deal completed before then.
It’s been a hard, complex deal to put together. There are 14-to-16 players involved in a deal that would end with Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton playing in New Jersey; send 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 and some second-round picks.
Anthony is right to question what the long-term plans of the Nets are.
A roster with him at forward, Billups and Hamilton in the backcourt, and Brook Lopez in the paint (without much else on the roster) is worse than the Nuggets team he is leaving now and could not compete with the elite of the East (it likely is a fifth or sixth seed next season). Billups (34) and Hamilton (32) are on the back ends of their careers, this is not the roster of the future. Plus, all the salary the Nets are taking on in this deal that would preclude them from getting Chris Paul and/or Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012 without more moves (the Nets would have more than $40 million on the books at that point without extending Lopez). If this team is going to compete with the Heat and Magic in three seasons, a series of other steps will need to be taken. Anthony is right to want to hear what those are.
Still, all signs point to the teams agreeing to the trade. It will all just come down to Anthony.