And the 'Melo Drama' continues...

After losing Friday night to the Toronto Raptors, 98-92, the Nets dropped to 7-20 in their first 27 games and are currently on pace to finish right around 21-61.

Although, given the way they've played of late -- losers of nine of their last 10 -- it's a stretch to even say they're going to win 21. And, at this point, it seems about 99.9 percent certain that the Nets aren't going to make the playoffs this season unless something drastic happens.

Which brings us to ESPN.com NBA expert Marc Stein's weekend dime.

In in his weekend dime, Stein tackles the "Melo Drama" that has -- especially recently -- reached soap opera status here in New Jersey. And it won't stop until the question everyone wants to know is finally answered:

Is Carmelo Anthony going to be dealt to the Nets?

And if so...

How? When? And would he sign an extension?

The truth of it is, Melo has yet to go public about his wishes. And until he does -- and he probably won't, at least not now anyway -- we can't be certain.

Just about the only thing we can be certain of at this point is that the Nets are continuing to stockpile assets. That much became apparent when New Jersey acquired a pair of first-round draft picks and Sasha Vujacic's expiring contract in the three-team trade that sent the enigmatic Terrence Williams to the Houston Rockets.

And, as a result, as Stein pointed out, the Nets now have four first-round draft picks that they could add to a package for Anthony that was already set to include 19-year-old rookie Derrick Favors and Troy Murphy's expiring contract in order to match salaries.

To be clear, according to our ESPN.com NBA experts, the Nets have never been told they've been out of the Anthony sweepstakes by the Nuggets or Anthony's camp. And until that happens, there's no reason for the Nets to stop acquiring assets or engaging the Nuggets in trade conversations.

In a perfect world, the Nets would be ecstatic if they could keep all those assets and wait for Anthony to become an unrestricted free agent and sign him outright without having to give up anything of value.

Can you imagine a team that featured a core of Anthony, Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Favors, a potential top-5 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, plus four other first rounders?

Neither can we -- unless of course Newark somehow becomes New York City and Prudential Center becomes Madison Square Garden. And unfortunately, that's not going to happen.

The point is, and Stein alludes to this in his weekend dime, not only are the Nets going to have to satisfy Denver's demands in a trade, they're also going to have to convince Anthony -- apparently a New York Knick lover at heart -- that he should sign a multi-year extension with them.

The latter of the two, of course, is the caveat; the deal-breaker that can prevent this dream from becoming a reality.

So here we are, 27 games into the season, wondering like the rest of you, what the future holds.

For the Nets, their future is Brooklyn. That much is certain.

But will Brooklyn native Carmelo Anthony be joining them?

That has been the million-dollar question for the last seven months. A question Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri and the Nets' contingent of Mikhail Prokhorov, Jay-Z, Billy King and Avery Johnson have been trying to answer, when, in reality, only Anthony can.