Throughout days of speculation and swirling rumors, the Nuggets have consistently held their hand close to the vest and chosen to lay low. It now appears that is also the case for all teams involved in the ongoing trade talks as well. On Tuesday, both the Nets and Nuggets intimated their current rosters will play for the foreseeable future, while the Pistons apparently remain committed and patient to facilitating a possible future deal.
The biggest hurdle to a trade likely centers around the fate of Al Harrington. Signed by Bret Bearup in the final days of Mark Warkentein’s tenure as GM, the 30 year old represents the longest and most expensive salary commitment on the Nuggets books when Carmelo is traded. Considering Wark and Bearup both find themselves ousted from Denver’s plans to reshape the roster, Harrington simply has no value if a new era of youth and reduced spending is to be ushered in. It’s confounding that Denver would ship Chauncey to NJ for mere savings, when Harrington would likely be more willing and a better fit on a 10-27 Nets team with Travis Outlaw as their only backup 4. Denver’s stance that Harrington must be included in any proposal shipping out Chauncey along with Melo is not surprising, and likely to be a major hangup in any deal until ultimately resolved.
In the meantime, the 15-20 Phoenix Suns visit the Pepsi Center tonight as Denver looks to avoid their first 4-game skid in 4 years. While the Suns have been struggling to score the ball recently, Denver may have had more trouble defending. The main story of course is how Carmelo Anthony will be received by a crowd who knows Melo’s inevitable departure could cost Denver a lot more than just him. For a man who wants to be traded, Melo’s seemed strangely surprised he could be getting his wish soon – even going into damage control mode by stating he wouldn’t want Chauncey to have to leave home, but it’s the business of basketball. Business is business, but it’s completely ruined a once-promising season of Denver basketball and Melo can no longer hide behind it to escape his part of the blame.