Nets, Nuggets Set For Carmelo Anthony Circus
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — ‘Melo is moving on to New Jersey.
Unfortunately for jilted Nets fans, Carmelo Anthony will still bring his Denver Nuggets teammates with him to New Jersey on Monday for the first time since Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov ended the drawn-out trade talks with Denver.
“I really don’t know what to expect,” Anthony said after Denver’s 110-99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. “I know me, personally, I’m just looking forward to going there and getting a win.”
Anthony said he has not ruled out any options for his future.
“As of right now, I don’t think the Nets will be calling,” he said, laughing.
Coach George Karl says he doesn’t know how the fans will react to Anthony when he hits the court. Karl, speaking before Sunday’s game against the 76ers, expects a playoff atmosphere for Anthony’s arrival.
“I expect it to be a pregame intensity to the game, and then I’m sure there will be some antics during the game that will have to be understood and handled,” Karl said. “I would say for most of the time, those things usually motivate my team to play more focused and serious. If we have to play an intense playoff-type style game against a team like New Jersey, I think we’re capable of doing that.”
These teams last met in Denver on Nov. 20, when Anthony had 28 points and eight rebounds in a 107-103 victory. The Nuggets have won four straight against the Nets and seven of the last eight meetings.
New Jersey won four of its first five games after Prokhorov decided to end the trade talks with Anthony, but has since lost its last two – both on the road.
The Nets, winners of four of their last five home games, couldn’t muster much offense at Milwaukee on Saturday, losing 91-81 to drop to 2-27 when scoring 92 points or fewer.
“We need to get back to swinging the ball because that’s what we do when we’re playing well,” said Devin Harris, who had 16 of New Jersey’s 19 assists.
Brook Lopez was a bright spot, finishing with 26 points in the defeat. He is averaging 24.5 points on 55.9-percent shooting in his last 10 games after averaging 14.3 points and shooting 45.8 percent in his previous nine.
Lopez had 20 points in Denver in November to lead seven New Jersey players in double figures.
Anthony has been the subject of trade talk since refusing to sign a three-year, $65 million extension last summer. Two potential blockbuster trades with the New Jersey Nets have fallen apart.
Prokhorov canceled a planned Jan. 20 meeting with Anthony, ending any chance for now of a three-team deal between the Nets, Nuggets and Detroit Pistons. Prokhorov tired of the talks, saying he was unhappy with how it played out in public, that it took too long, got too expensive and cost his team games.
Chauncey Billups led the Nuggets on Sunday with 27 points. He was part of the proposed deal and, while he wants to remain in Denver, credited the Nets for trying to build an instant winner.
“What they were trying to put together, we would have had a chance to be pretty special,” he said.
Anthony backed his teammate.
“I don’t know who put that deal out there, but on paper that could have been something to look forward to out there in New Jersey,” he said.
Karl says he’s proud of the way the Nuggets have handled the Anthony trade circus.
“We laugh about it, we joke about it,” Karl said. “In general, it has not had a big effect on our basketball.”
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Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.