This weekend felt like we were living in the 18th century.
We're being totally serious here. The wildly conflicting reports emanating from Los Angeles about the Carmelo Anthony trade talks felt like something out of some market square in London as rumors flew about the latest expedition to the new world. Assessing veracity was impossible when everything was contradicted, backed up and/or laughed at within moments by some other source. It's just a wonder that no one reported that Anthony and company had been lost after a run-in with a sea monster near the Bermuda Triangle.
Here's where we think we stand on Monday morning. The Knicks have offered Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry's carcass contract and Anthony Randolph in exchange for Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams and either Anthony Carter or old friend Renaldo Balkman. The Timberwolves are involved, but no one is coming back to the Knicks from the Twin Cities. Multiple reports have this being the Knicks' absolute final offer while many of the same reports say that the Nuggets want Timofey Mozgov.
The Nets finally got their meeting with Anthony, more on that in a moment, and still have their offer of Derrick Favors, four first round picks and assorted other detritus on the table. There continues to be absolutely no sign that Anthony is willing to sign an extension with the Nets, although that might not even be part of what Jersey is trying to accomplish.
How's that? Welcome to part two of our little weekend wrap-up. This is the part where we shake our heads at how all four parties involved in this have come out of the last three days smelling like Andy Dufresne after his escape from Shawshank with little chance of the redemption offered by life on the outside.
Nets: Mikhail Prokhorov is an entertaining dude. Amid all the nonsense flying back and forth, he issued the one quote that actually forced a smile over the weekend. He and Jay-Z met with Anthony, a meeting that the Nets owner described thusly to Darren Rovell of CNBC:
"It was a fantastic meeting, trust me," Prokhorov said. "No words, live music, excellent atmosphere. We looked into each other's eyes. Just real man talk."
Oh, to be a fly on that wall. Anthony left without saying he'd go to Jersey, though, and his only real comment of the weekend was that Denver has always known where he'd be willing to play. Prokhorov seems to know that he's out of the running, telling Rovell that he's happy to simply make the Knicks pay as much as possible for Anthony. That's the first time Stalingrad has been an inspiration for a basketball owner, especially one desperate enough to make a Herschel Walker trade for a bid at relevancy that just isn't coming.
Knicks: Opinions can and will vary on the offer. Without adding Mozgov, there's a pretty strong argument to be made for the deal. Chandler has no future with a Knicks team looking to add stars, Billups is a wash with Felton (and a much better shooter) and Gallinari for Anthony isn't something that would make you blink an eye. There's a lot of talk about needing role players to win big, which is true, but they are easier to find than stars and you could make a convincing argument that Mozgov is worth grabbing a superstar.
Yet it feels like way too much given the landscape. The Knicks are the only dog in this hunt yet they are acting like the ugly kid that no one likes trying to get invited to the big party. Regardless of how this plays out, this weekend has put a serious damper on the excitement about the team because they now have made it clear that Donnie Walsh is out. James Dolan is calling the shots, most likely with Isiah Thomas in his ear. That's chilling, even if the result of their machinations right now isn't wholly negative.
Nuggets: Give them credit for recognizing the desperation of both the Knicks and Nets, but you have to question both their greed in constantly coming back for more and their assessment of personnel. Are any of those four first rounders really going to be better than Gallinari or Chandler? Felton is a nice trade chip to bring them something else since they already have Ty Lawson and it sounds like they'll be landing either a pick or Corey Brewer from the Wolves. They've made out like bandits and the only thing stopping them right now is spite, which is pretty pathetic from a group of business owning adults.
Anthony: He looks worse than everyone else. From the moment Curt Flood said no to the Phillies to LeBron's loathsome TV special, the one thing that free agency has always been about is the ability to determine your own future. It's not just about money, although that plays a role, it is about weighing everything that's important to you going forward and making it happen. After months of this, Anthony still isn't able to do that and that's either going to leave him where he doesn't want to be or playing for a Knicks team that's weaker because of his indecision.