Are the Nets better off without Carmelo?

If their first game after owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced the team was backing out of negotiations is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes. Devin Kharpertian of NetsAreScorching writes that last night’s Nets looked confident in an upset of the Utah Jazz.

Now that the stink of the Melo saga has finally rolled off their shoulders, the Nets can focus on playing as a complete team instead of worrying about who might not be in practice the next day. It’s only one game, but the difference between the scurrying team on the floor during the previous 12 games and the confident one against Utah was staggering. Without Anthony, the Nets still have a young, solid core, which includes former All-Star point guard Devin Harris, cornerstone center Brook Lopez, 3-point machine Anthony Morrow and, of course, the prize of the no-deal, Derrick Favors.

Kharpertian goes on to discuss Favors’ progress in his rookie season:

Favors, the youngest player in the NBA, still has skyscraping upside and is playing surprisingly efficient basketball despite his inexperience and the swirling cloud of rumors. In just more than 18 minutes per game, he’s shooting 55.1 percent from the field while grabbing almost 16 percent of available rebounds. There has never been a teenage rookie in the history of the NBA who played up to that level. The closest? Some guy named Dwight Howard. Favors may never have the game-changing impact that Howard has, but that’s a pretty solid start to hang your hat on. I know the Nets are impressed.

Favors is averaging 6.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in just 19.0 minutes of playing time, which results in a slightly-below-average PER of 13.99. Considering he’s just 19-years-old and has a very raw offensive game, there is a lot of upside here. Maybe the Nets are better off seeing how he develops alongside the more polished Brook Lopez. The two could make a formidable power forward/center core in a few years.

This assumes, of course, that Carmelo was interested in joining the Nets in the first place. There have been mixed messages coming out of his camp and it sure seems like Anthony using the Nets offer as leverage to get the Knicks to make a move. If that’s the case, Prokhorov absolutely made the right move to pull out of the negotiations. He doesn’t want his team to be used that way.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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.

Nuggets dragging their feet in the Carmelo deal

Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony scores against the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter of the first round playoffs game two at the Pepsi Center on April 19, 2010 in Denver. Utah beat Denver 114-111 to even the series at 1-1.  UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

According to the New York Post (a bastion of honest, sober reporting if there ever was one), the Denver Nuggets are taking their sweet time committing to the four-team trade (discussed here in more detail) as they see if there are any better offers out there. As it is currently constructed, the Nuggets would received Derrick Favors, Andrei Kirilenko and two first round draft picks, which isn’t a bad haul all things considered.

Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting that the deal is in neutral and that the Nuggets are going to hope that Anthony shows up to the team’s media day on Monday and “beg him to stay.”

It’s not even clear if Anthony has signed off on the Nets by agreeing to sign the three-year extension required to get New Jersey to give up Derrick Favors and Devin Harris to acquire his rights.

Rumored four-team trades have a way of falling apart, but this story seems to have legs, so I’d peg the chances of this getting done at around 40%. This week should be interesting as the Nuggets’ camp opens and Anthony has to decide whether or not he wants to report to work.

Chad Ford’s Mock 7.0

Chad Ford just released the seventh iteration of his mock draft, and he seems pretty confident in the first eight picks:

1. John Wall, Wizards
2. Evan Turner, Sixers
3. Derrick Favors, Nets
4. Wes Johnson, T-Wolves
5. DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
6. Ekpe Udoh, Warriors
7. Greg Monroe, Pistons
8. Al-Farouq Aminu, Clippers

Barring trades, which are always the toughest to predict, that sequence seems pretty reasonable. Udoh seems to be going a bit high, but Monroe apparently had a bad workout with the Warriors. Some teams place too much emphasis on a one-day workout instead of looking at a player’s overall body of work, but each team has its own method of evaluating prospects.

The mock starts to get dicey around #9 where Ford says that the Jazz have a load of options, but appear to be leaning towards UNC’s Ed Davis.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Source: Nets will draft Favors


Barring a last-minute change in thinking, the New Jersey Nets will select Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors over Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson with the No. 3 pick, was told Thursday morning.

According to a source with knowledge of the selection, the Nets made the decision because they are not guaranteed to get a power forward like Utah’s Carlos Boozer, Toronto’s Chris Bosh or Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire in free agency.

The source said that Favors is also the most tradeable asset available to the Nets for a possible deal — more so than Johnson. The source said the Nets might make a deal Thursday night after selecting Favors or wait to see if one comes in July during the free-agency period. The source said if the Nets make a deal they would have to include the pick of Favors.

This is a bit of a surprise as the Nets had seemingly settled on Wes Johnson because they believed they’d be able to get a good power forward in free agency. Now they’re planning to draft Favors because they’re not sure about getting a good power forward in free agency. Hmm.

The Nets could draft Favors as insurance and move him if they are able to land a good big in July’s free agency period.

Favors has a lot of upside, but hasn’t performed very well in workouts, which has hurt his stock a bit as draft day approaches. He was the 2009 Naismith Prep Player of the Year, which has a pretty good track record of predicting success in the NBA.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Related Posts