EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Nets might be getting a superstar after all.
After failing to lure LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh to New Jersey during the free- agency sweepstakes this summer, the Nets are engaged in trade talks to acquire Carmelo Anthony.
A person close to the talks who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the team told The Associated Press on Friday that the Nets were involved in very complicated talks with the Denver Nuggets for the small forward. The person added that nothing was expected to be decided Friday.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the trade talks.
The price that the Nets would pay for Anthony in what would be a multiteam trade would be steep.
Yahoo said the Nuggets wanted power forward Derrick Favors, the No. 3 pick overall in the draft, and a protected 2012 first-round pick the Nets received from Golden State.
The Utah Jazz and Charlotte Bobcats also would be involved in the trade and Yahoo reported that the Bobcats would get All-Star point guard Devin Harris from the Nets.
Charlotte would send forward Boris Diaw to the Jazz, who would send forward Andrei Kirilenko to the Nuggets. The Nets would also get point guard D.J. Augustin from the Bobcats.
Nets general manager Billy King did not return a message left by The Associated Press seeking a comment.
Nets spokesman Gary Sussman e-mailed reporters, saying that King would not comment on trade rumors.
The Nuggets have offered Anthony a three-year extension valued at $65 million, but he has refused to sign it.
The deal with the Nets would be incumbent on Anthony signing the extension, Yahoo reported.
Word of the trade talks surfaced on Friday, hours after new coach Avery Johnson and players reported to camp and talked to the media about the upcoming season. The team’s first practice is Saturday.
There have been talks about trades involving the Nets and Anthony in recent weeks and Johnson was asked about the rumors.
“All year you are going to hear stuff about not only our situation but every team. That’s the way it goes,” he said. “Every general manager, and you have 30 of them, they are always out looking to improve the ballclub and that’s what they should do. If Billy was sitting up in his office looking at some political talk on television, because I heard he was a politics guy, I would be very disappointed. He is going to be always looking to improve our ball club.”
Johnson said that he wants Harris to be the engine that runs the team and he noted that Favors shows the potential at 19-years-old that Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett showed at the same age.
Johnson was concerned that trade talks might be a distraction for the players.
“They understand that is part of the game,” he said. “It’s a part of the business. There may be some things said about coach this year that is really inaccurate. That is a part of what we deal with. When you sign you name on contracts to be an NBA player or coach that’s kind of the unwritten rule, the fine print you don’t see. Your name is going to come up and something is going to be said. You have to deal with it.”
Johnson refused to speculate on how many games the new-look Nets would win after winning only 12 last season.
“We’re not making any promises except to say we’re going to play hard and we’ll see what happens on nights when our talent level is not as high as other teams.”
New owner Mikhail Prokhorov has said the Nets will challenge for a playoff berth this season.
Johnson noted that statement was made before the free-agency period.
“You have to look at the context of when the statement was made,” Johnson said. “Mikhail and I are on the same page. This is not going to blow up in smoke if that doesn’t happen the first year.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.