Carmelo, Prokhorov to meet over All-Star Weekend

Marc Stein sifts through the latest Carmelo trade buzz for ESPN:

Although details of a formally scheduled meeting have yet to emerge, Denver officials are operating under the assumption that Melo and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will finally meet face-to-face during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, according to sources close to the process. The Nuggets encourage that meeting, sources say, because trading with New Jersey has always been more favorable to Denver than dealing with New York and because the Nuggets — who still like New Jersey’s Derrick Favors better than any player who’s been made available to them in the months-long Melo trade saga — know that the Nets remain unwilling to participate in a trade unless Anthony also commits to an extension in New Jersey.

This is the same billionaire who pulled out of the Carmelo trade talks earlier this season because he felt like his team was distracted and was potentially being used to spur negotiations with the Knicks. That may still be the case, but the trade deadline is fast approaching and if Prokhorov can sell Carmelo on the idea of playing in Brooklyn, the Nets and Nuggets may be able to make a deal because the Nuggets want Favors. Keep in mind that Prokhorov’s spokesperson says that nothing has changed with regard to the Nets’ non-pursuit of Anthony.

Meanwhile, Knicks GM Donnie Walsh is dealing with owner James Dolan, who may be more willing to gut the roster to acquire Anthony before the deadline. Carmelo’s meeting with the Nets has to be putting the pressure on Walsh to make a deal, though the Knicks are also expected to meet with Anthony in Los Angeles.

If Prokhorov is smart (and he is), he should bring part owner Jay-Z to help sell the Nets franchise. Who knows, maybe Carmelo will be as impressed by Prokhorov as LeBron was last summer.

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