Once the Denver Nuggets were certain Carmelo Anthony would not be signing the contract extension they offered him, the New Jersey Nets became the team’s most likely trading partner—the ones willing to offer the most in return. But that possibility came to a screeching halt yesterday, as the team’s Russian billionaire owner claimed the process was taking too long and the Nuggets wanted too much in return. “Really, I am not happy with the way the deal has gone until now,” Mikhail Prokhorov told a room full of reporters (via the Newark Star-Ledger). “It has been played out in public. The uncertainty has taken a toll on the players.”
The Denver Post reports that Nuggets rookie general manager Masai Ujiri and soon-to-be owner Josh Kroenke refused to comment on the deal’s failure last night before the Nuggets’ thrilling 112-107 win over the divison-leading Oklahoma Thunder (recap via NBA.com).
So where do the Nuggets go from here? According to the Post, they’ll continue trying to trade Melo before the February 24 trade deadline, but it’s unlikely any deal will be as good as the Nets’. Melo’s agents are pushing the Chicago Bulls to become more active in making a deal palatable for the Nuggets, writes Yahoo! Sports, but it’s unclear whether the Bulls have enough to force the Nuggets to move. The New York Times thinks the New York Knicks—Melo’s preferred destination all along—could become the front runners in the trade, but the team isn’t willing to part with a bevy of talented young players and draft picks.