One reason the Nuggets might be dragging their feet…

Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony warms up at the Pepsi Center in Denver on November 16, 2010. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

I missed this tidbit from a TrueHoop post from about a week ago:

The Nuggets have a great offer on the table now, but might see some merit in stalling, too. For one thing, it’s hard to see what could happen to make the Nets’ current offer disappear. Derrick Favors has spent much of the season playing behind Kris Humphries in New Jersey, and unlikely to increase his market value drastically. Then there’s some gamesmanship surrounding the Nets’ 2011 draft pick. Very high picks like that one, used skillfully, are nearly essential ingredients to winning titles, and they’re damned hard to find. As the Nuggets root for that pick to be as high as possible, they root, of course, for the Nets to lose. And every loss matters, as a heated battle is under way for the NBA’s worst record. The 10-27 Nets have the NBA’s fifth-worst record today, but they’re a mere two games out of the 8-29 Cavaliers’ first, or last — depending on your perspective — place. Of course, the Nuggets can’t do anything to make the Nets lose more … or can they? Giving them an All-Star like Anthony may well cause the Nets to rip off some wins. It sounds a little out there, but one thought is that the longer the Nuggets keep Anthony from the Nets, the better that Nets’ pick is likely to be.

Gamesmanship, indeed.

Let’s assume that on Jan. 7 the Nuggets decided that the offer of Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and a first round pick for Melo and bad contracts was an agreeable offer. The trade deadline isn’t until Feb. 24, so during that span, the Nets would play 20 games. If the Nuggets were to trade Carmelo on Jan. 7, it would almost certainly help New Jersey’s win/loss record during that span. The Nets are currently winning at a .244 clip. Let’s make another assumption: They start winning at a .500 rate once Carmelo is on board. So that means they would go 10-10 during the 1/7 to 2/24 span instead of 5-15.

Those five wins could be very important come lottery time for the Nets’ 2011 first rounder that will no doubt be included in the Anthony trade. As an example, at the end of last season only four games separated the team with the third-worst record (Kings) from the team with the ninth-worst record (Knicks). As a result, the Kings had a 15.6% chance of landing the first overall pick while the Jazz (who had the Knicks’ pick) had just a 1.7% chance of winning the #1 pick.

So assuming that the Nets aren’t going to pull the offer from the table (and that Carmelo is agreeable to signing an extension with the Nets), Denver stands to benefit by dragging its feet as long as possible.

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