The latest tidbits to dribble onto our radar from the Carmelo Anthony trade front:
• Although details of a formally scheduled meeting have yet to emerge, Denver officials are operating under the assumption that Melo and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will finally meet face-to-face during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, according to sources close to the process. The Nuggets encourage that meeting, sources say, because trading with New Jersey has always been more favorable to Denver than dealing with New York and because the Nuggets -- who still like New Jersey’s Derrick Favors better than any player who’s been made available to them in the months-long Melo trade saga -- know that the Nets remain unwilling to participate in a trade unless Anthony also commits to an extension in New Jersey.
• Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni and Knicks president Donnie Walsh are understandably hesitant to give up too much of New York’s depth to get Melo, as Chris Sheridan spelled out Wednesday night in this piece, but one source well acquainted with both teams’ strategies echoes the rising notion that Walsh might have no choice if Knicks owner James Dolan takes a Melo-at-all-costs stance, as many observers anticipate. The source said: “Don’t forget Donnie is still trying to get a contract extension.” Translation: Getting Melo now, no matter what the cost, might be the clincher to get that extension.
• Entering All-Star Weekend, New York and New Jersey are the only two teams seriously engaged with the Nuggets in Melo talks. Sources say that the Dallas Mavericks, long considered right there with Houston at the top of the list of teams willing to gamble on trading for Anthony without his signature on a contract extension, have been sufficiently convinced that Melo is so determined to ultimately get to New York that they’ve decided there’s no way they could include prized young guard Roddy Beaubois in a trade with Denver because keeping Anthony beyond this season will be so difficult.
• The Nuggets, sources insist, were the ones who called the Nets to resuscitate dialogue between the teams for the first time since Prokhorov publicly pulled his team out of the running on Jan. 19. Word is that Prokhorov made it a condition not to re-engage Denver unless the Nuggets made the initial call.