The Nets have been here before, and not just this season.
They’re stuck in-limbo, seemingly exhausting every possibility as they wait for a deal to happen involving a superstar player, who because of his unhappiness and want for what could be green pastures has turned two franchises upside down.
Carmelo Anthony is doing what Jason Kidd did in 2008. The difference this time is the Nets are not acting from a position of strength because they’re not the one dealing the All-Star player.
Don’t get me wrong, the Nets have bargaining power. They have the assets Denver wants: draft picks, young players, the ability to trim salary to the point where the Nuggets don’t have to pay luxury tax.
But the Nuggets really have the final say on if the current three-team 14-to-16-player trade proposal that also includes the Pistons can go forward.
After that it will be worked out as to whether Anthony would sign an extension, but the Nets would not have proceeded this far and been this aggressive if they didn’t believe he would sign an extension.
Billy King could give the now-or-we’re-walking ultimatum to the Nuggets to scare them – and he probably has applied some pressure – but everyone knows how important it is for the Nets to get Anthony. Their future is based on it.
They want a star to fill the seats and make them relevant, someone who could open the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2012 in style and who could potentially be the lure that also brings Chris Paul to the franchise.
That’s why the Nets can’t fully give Denver an ultimatum. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Nuggets are trying to scare the Nets by saying they will deal with the Knicks. The Nets don’t want that, of course, so they’re all in.
The Nets could make other deals if this falls through, but they’re not going to get a player of Anthony’s caliber and that's his cache in this trade market. And you can’t wait on free agency for anything. Everyone saw how that worked out for the Nets this past summer.
The posturing and back-and-forth and on-again, off-again, so-close, but-not-yet situations here reminds me a little of the Kidd deal to Dallas in 2007. It’s a reminder that although things may seem crazy, these things happen.
Some things are similar: unhappy superstar, Avery Johnson is the coach of the team set to acquire the superstar, Devin Harris is the one of the players traded for the superstar and the Nets are involved.
The trade was done and the Nets were preparing for a conference call before their game in Toronto on Feb. 13. But Devean George invoked an “Early Bird Rights” no-trade clause in his contract, blocking the deal. Then Jerry Stackhouse, who also would have been coming from Dallas, told reporters the Nets were going to buy him out and he would return to the Mavericks.
That effectively removed both players from the trade talks, forcing then Nets’ executives Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe to come up with different scenarios to make a deal work.
That’s what King and assistant GM Bobby Marks are doing here, but they’re involving many more teams. First it was Utah and Charlotte, then Cleveland, Washington got involved, Portland and now Detroit.
In the Kidd deal, Nets executive became frustrated and there were probably times they felt it wasn’t going to happen.
But the Nets got creative and tried to put Keith Van Horn, who was out of basketball, in the trade. He had to sign a contract and be trade in order to make it work. Van Horn needed some convincing to help the Nets after they traded him away and he was treated as a scapegoat for their 2002 NBA Finals loss to the Lakers. But money talked.
More needed to be worked out, though, as Thorn wanted to make sure the Nets got enough draft picks for their franchise player. There also were some ultimatums given from the Nets side. Remember they were in a position of power because the Mavericks thought they were the missing piece in their title hopes.
Ultimately, Kidd went to Dallas on Feb. 19, ending days and weeks of frustration, anger and despair.
It’s similar here only it’s been months, not days or weeks, but a conclusion is nearing if for no other reason than the trade deadline is six weeks away.
Follow me on Twitter: @Al_Iannazzone
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)