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Posted at 9:02 PM ET, 01/ 9/2011

Carmelo Anthony headed to New Jersey? Washington was never in his plans

By Michael Lee

Some Wizards fans have held on the faint, perhaps unrealistic, hope that the team would be able bring back Carmelo Anthony, either by trade or next summer in free agency, to play professional basketball near his native Baltimore. Though the prospect of Anthony catching lobs from John Wall or getting fans on their feet with game-winning jumpers at Verizon Center never seemed possible, those wishes might be more remote than ever.


How much longer am I going to be here? (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Multiple media outlets are reporting that the New Jersey Nets are "moving closer" to acquiring the three-time all-star forward from the Denver Nuggets in a three-way trade involving the Detroit Pistons.

In the proposed deal, the Nets would get Anthony and Chauncey Billups from Denver and Richard Hamilton from Detroit. New Jersey would send No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, former all-star guard Devin Harris and at least two first-round picks to the Nuggets, while sending Troy Murphy's expiring contract to Detroit.

The complicated agreement could involve 15 or more players switching teams -- and that doesn't include draft picks. An NBA source told Nets beat reporter Al Iannazzone of the Bergen Record in Hackensack, N.J., that "something could happen in the next 48 hours."

The Nets have been in hot pursuit of Anthony ever since they whiffed mightily in free agency and Anthony refused to sign a three-year, $65-million extension with the Nuggets last summer.

The Wizards contacted the Nuggets when Anthony's dissatisfaction with his situation in Denver became public knowledge. But two huge factors always worked against the Wizards.

For one, it didn't have the package of expiring contracts, future draft picks and young prospects that Denver desired. And, more importantly, the Wizards have also been low on Anthony's radar. Despite him hanging out in Washington during the offseason, the Wizards were always noticeably absent from Anthony's list of desired destinations, which purportedly included New York, Chicago, Orlando and Houston.

A person close to Anthony told me recently that Anthony mentioned last summer that he had no interest in playing for the Wizards because the team was "too close" to home. Anthony didn't want to be bothered with the distractions of playing about 30 miles from where he grew up, the source said.

Denver has reportedly been negotiating with the Nets, almost exclusively, for several weeks, since they have the desirable young talent and a stockpile draft picks. Anthony would like to play for the Knicks, but the Nuggets are not interested in dealing with them.

The trade, of course, hinges on New Jersey's ability to convince Anthony to sign a long-term extension to remain with the team beyond this season. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and coach Avery Johnson reportedly would like to meet with Anthony to persuade him into joining the team, which plans to move to Brooklyn -- where Anthony was born -- in the 2012-13 season.

Boston worked out a similar deal to negotiate an extension when it traded for Kevin Garnett in the summer of 2007. But Ken Berger of CBSSports wrote that Anthony "doesn't need to be convinced" to sign with New Jersey.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Anthony is "on board" with signing with the Nets, if Hamilton is included.

The possible backcourt reunion of Hamilton and Billups would help the Nets through its transition from Newark the next year and a half. Billups's agent, Andy Miller, has already made it clear that his client, a native of Denver, would seek a buyout if the Nets acquire him, but that doesn't appear to be an obstacle for the deal.

If the Nets can pull of the trade, it would place in New Jersey three-fifths of the team that Detroit could've had had in 2003, when the Pistons drafted Darko Milicic instead of Anthony. The Pistons went on to win the NBA title the next season, and made the Eastern Conference finals through 2008, but they are already in the midst of rebuilding; a process that could move quicker without Hamilton around.

The Nets (10-27) rank 13th in the Eastern Conference, only percentage points ahead of the Wizards. Both teams are five games out of the eighth spot.

By Michael Lee  | January 9, 2011; 9:02 PM ET
 
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Comments

He will regret going to nj.

Posted by: ptp09 | January 9, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

you got that right.

Posted by: rayjay1 | January 9, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

you got that right

Posted by: rayjay1 | January 9, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Five games out of 8th, the Eastern Conference I tell ya

Posted by: DCfan8397 | January 9, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Good news for the Wiz. Means the Nets soon won't be competing with us for the #1 pick.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 9, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

He will regret going to nj.

Posted by: ptp09 | January 9, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

you got that right.

Posted by: rayjay1 | January 9, 2011 10:10 PM

Maybe if he was going by himself, but since rip, chauncey, and the lil general and the russian is already there, it changes everything

New Jersey easily becomes the top four best in the east. Something Carmelo never really had in Denver in the west.

They could easily be in the conversations with Boston, Miami, and Orlando. They vault ahead of Atlanta IMO.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 10, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Billups has already said he doesn't want to play in NJ and will demand a buyout if traded there. Hamilton is 33 years old, on the downside of his career, and his production has started declining. He might be a decent complementary piece on a team that already has the pieces for contention in place, but he's past the point of being a cornerstone for building up a contender (esp. if he's playing on a team w/o a PG who can get him the ball in the right spots, as he's not especially good at creating off the dribble).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 12:21 AM | Report abuse

"New Jersey easily becomes the top four best in the east. Something Carmelo never really had in Denver in the west."

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 10, 2011 12:06 AM

The Nuggets have won their division (thus automatically securing a top 4 seed in the playoffs) 3 times in the previous 5 seasons.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 12:25 AM | Report abuse

The Nuggets have won their division (thus automatically securing a top 4 seed in the playoffs) 3 times in the previous 5 seasons.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 12:25 AM

Yes, you would be correct and I admit that I did not really clarify my statement. My statement would be incorrect in so far as you have stated, but I just thought without clarifying that being a top four in the east was much better than in the west.

About Billups though, I think he would be inclined to reevaluate his opinion about playing for Jersey once all the dynamics are in place.

Jersey would appear be nothing like the team as we know them now.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 10, 2011 1:03 AM | Report abuse

About Billups though, I think he would be inclined to reevaluate his opinion about playing for Jersey once all the dynamics are in place.

Jersey would appear be nothing like the team as we know them now.

LarryInClintonMD.

http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nba/news/story?id=6002679

The way the article was written, it looks like Billups is interested in the buyout if all of the proposed deals do in fact take place. Whether that means he's not interested in playing in Jersey, or in playing with any of the current / former teammates involved in the deal, or something else entirely, who knows? But suffice to say he's aware of the potential dynamics. Of course, at 34, he may just be trying to leverage the situation into one more lucrative extension.

Which is not to say he won't change his mind. Melo, Billups, Rip and Lopez, plus whatever they have left (Humphries, Outlaw, Farmar, Vujacic?) would potentially be a very good team over the short term. Rip is starting to fade, but much like Ray Allen, could get a boost from being the third or fourth option, especially with two solid inside scorers to feed off of.

New Jersey's got to have a back-up plan if Billups is serious about not wanting to be in NJ. It doesn't work if they don't have a good PG.

Posted by: ts35 | January 10, 2011 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Billups or no Billups, I don't see this deal turning NJ into instant contenders. Ray Allen has always been a more dynamic scorer than Hamilton (i.e., he generated offense more easily and more in the flow). He was also coming off a career-high scoring year with Seattle when he got traded. Hamilton is headed in the other direction. To me, this looks like either an older, slower, less athletic version of the team he had in Denver, or something the Mavericks would put together, where the gap between the best player and the second best is too wide and ends up putting too much burden on the top guy to play great every single night.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 2:19 AM | Report abuse

I don't think they would be contenders. I don't think they would be good enough to get past the Boston, Orlando or Miami. But they would potentially be in that next group down. Which may relate to another reason Billups is potentially balking at the deal. His agent indicated he only wants to play for a winner, and he may see that even if the Nets do pull this off, they're still not quite good enough.

As for Rip, he is getting older and starting to fade, but you also have to look at the team he's playing with as a partial reason for his precipitous drop-off. But in the end, it's a bit moot. In the NJ scenario, if Billups stays, Rip is the fourth banana, and gets the benefit of playing with a good PG again. And playing off two bigs (well, Melo is a semi-big) who can score. It takes a lot of the pressure off of him to be anything more than what he is.

As for being a slower, older, less-athletic version of the Nuggets, they might be less-athletic, but they're not older. They likely net out about the same, with the Nets potentially being a bit younger.

Posted by: ts35 | January 10, 2011 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Anyhow, it's a different way to go about a rebuild. Mikhail Prokhorov has got stars in his eyes and $13.4 billion dollars. The money may have come from precious metals but he's basically a financier, used to deals that make back the initial investment in 24 months. This is a guy who once walked a way from a $50 million deposit on a villa in France. And he's hoping to have a new arena in Brooklyn. First steel went in Nov. 23. He's hoping to be in there by 2013 at the latest.

In short, to survive in the NY market, he needs a young superstar. Rip Hamilton will be 34 and Chauncey Billups 35 next season. They're not really what Prokhorov is interested in.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 10, 2011 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I kind of disagree that they would not be instant contenders. Look at how well NY is playing. I don't think most people thought that the single addition of Amare would have them playing as competitive as they are.

The Bulls who would seemingly garner that 4th seed will not be a better team than Jersey assuming the trade pans out and they click.

As no one thinks that Jersey could vault in wins for the division title but with the lineup they would have, I really see them being the 4th best team in the East though not seeded that high.

Though the Lil General isn't making any noise now, I can clearly see the sum of this team parts being as great or equal to the whole. That is IMO expectations will be at least met or exceeded.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 10, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Even with Melo...I don't see New Jersey as a top 4 team in the East. I don't think it makes them better than Atlanta and they definitely aren't up there with Chicago.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 10, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

By the way, age doesn't seem to hinder Boston's effectiveness.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 10, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

By the way, age doesn't seem to hinder Boston's effectiveness.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 10, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Even with Melo...I don't see New Jersey as a top 4 team in the East. I don't think it makes them better than Atlanta and they definitely aren't up there with Chicago.
Posted by: SDMDTSU

I agree. Billups has always been one of my favorite players but his play has really faded this year. I'm sure some of that is situational (as with Hamilton) but I suspect age is a significant factor with both.

I kind of disagree that they would not be instant contenders. Look at how well NY is playing.
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

New York's been something of a surprise but I'm far from convinced they can keep that up for the rest of the year.

Posted by: nmik | January 10, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Chris Sheridan's take on some of the questions about the possible trade:
http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/1917/five-pending-melo-to-nets-questions

Posted by: nmik | January 10, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

New York is 5 games above .500 in the East after they won like won 10 straight or something? They're better than expected...because they came in with lowered expectations.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 10, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

By the way, age doesn't seem to hinder Boston's effectiveness.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 10, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Yeah it's because of the PG they have.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | January 10, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

In short, to survive in the NY market, he needs a young superstar.

Does this mean people are coming to the realization that Brook Lopez really isnt THAT good? He was all the rage as recently as this summer

Posted by: divi3 | January 10, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"I don't think they would be contenders. I don't think they would be good enough to get past the Boston, Orlando or Miami. But they would potentially be in that next group down."

Posted by: ts35 | January 10, 2011 3:26 AM

You don't trade for 3 contracts the size of Anthony's, Billups', and Hamilton's just to get a 5th seed and lose in the 1st round. And given the ages and already declining games of both Billups and Hamilton, the window for them to do something is pretty small (even smaller if Billups bolts and they can't acquire a high level replacement).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Does this mean people are coming to the realization that Brook Lopez really isnt THAT good? Posted by: divi3"

LOL he had one rebound in a recent game. Those are Javale McGee numbers.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 10, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"You don't trade for 3 contracts the size of Anthony's, Billups', and Hamilton's just to get a 5th seed and lose in the 1st round. And given the ages and already declining games of both Billups and Hamilton, the window for them to do something is pretty small (even smaller if Billups bolts and they can't acquire a high level replacement).
Posted by: kalo_rama"

Definitely. And they're giving up too much to Denver already. That's probably why Billy King insisted on the Pistons taking Petro, and also behind that insane demand for a first-rounder.

I don't know but that they won't need that fourth club to make this work.

As far as Carmelo preferring the Knicks, I'm sure that's true, but to be the main guy in a new arena with an owner who has $13 billion -- that's pretty tempting too, I imagine. Provided they can spend some of that money to acquire a team to go around him.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 10, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

You don't trade for 3 contracts the size of Anthony's, Billups', and Hamilton's just to get a 5th seed and lose in the 1st round.
Posted by: kalo_rama

Nope, you do it to make sure that a) you get a top young superstar and b) to make sure people want to buy season tickets when you build your fancy new arena. Then if you have a decent team and are actually in NYC, you hope / expect to be able to sign some FAs or make more trades to fill in as Rip and Billups fall off. Over the next couple of years, the influx of young, talented PGs will start coming to the end of their first contracts. Many likely will get extended. Some won't, or will choose not to.

In addition to all of that, I think they'll still have at least one first rounder over each of the next few years, so they'll still have the opportunity to draft help.

Mind you, all of this is heavily dependent on not getting crushed by a new CBA.

Is it foolproof? Definitely not. They're counting a lot on the drawing power of NYC and the persuasive powers of Prokhorov's wallet and Jay-Z's cache.

(Though I must admit that I would have to comply if Beyonce asked me to do almost anything).

Posted by: ts35 | January 10, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"As far as Carmelo preferring the Knicks, I'm sure that's true, but to be the main guy in a new arena with an owner who has $13 billion -- that's pretty tempting too, I imagine. Provided they can spend some of that money to acquire a team to go around him."

Posted by: Samson151 | January 10, 2011 9:43 AM

According to J.A. Adande, if the Nets take on Hamilton's contract, they won't have the cap space to add any significant FAs (whereas the Knicks will). So even if this turns out to be the last hurrah for Boston, the Nets would still have to fight their way through Orlando, Chicago, Miami, and NY, all of whom are ahead of them and still on the way up. And with the possibility of part/most/all of next season being wiped out by a lockout, that could be 1 year down off the 3-year extension NJ is expecting Anthony to sign, with nothing to show for it. And the longer it takes for NJ to show they're legit contenders, the more Anthony's frustration is likely to grow, increasing the possibility that he bolts when the deal is up.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

And the longer it takes for NJ to show they're legit contenders, the more Anthony's frustration is likely to grow, increasing the possibility that he bolts when the deal is up.
Posted by: kalo_rama

There's a lot of speculation that Anthony sees the trade as the precursor of a Nets trade for Paul in '12 (same agent).

CAA and Rose look to be the winner, whatever else happens.

Posted by: nmik | January 10, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

'Melo is only 26, the Nets are doing whatever they can to get him without the expectation they will become contenders based on the initial deal alone. The fact Anthony apparently wants to go to NJ probably means winning now/soon isnt #1 on his list of priorities. Being "The Man" at a brand new Brooklyn arena with a billionaire owner known for clubbing is probably first on his list.

Posted by: divi3 | January 10, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I am willing to bet that Anthony won't sign any extension and will become a free agent at the end of the season. The Knicks is where he wants to be and 6 more months of waiting is not that hard to deal with.

Posted by: spades72 | January 10, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Think about it. Carmelo is leaving Denver because New Jersey gives him a better chance of winning. Don't think so.

Posted by: spades72 | January 10, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, Billups is now willing to go to New Jersey because the Nets will fully guarantee his $14.2 million salary for 2011-12.

Posted by: nmik | January 10, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"I am willing to bet that Anthony won't sign any extension and will become a free agent at the end of the season. The Knicks is where he wants to be and 6 more months of waiting is not that hard to deal with."

Posted by: spades72 | January 10, 2011 10:58 AM

I doubt the Nets do the deal without it. (I could see Dallas doing it, but not NJ). If they do, however, then it basically reduces their window for success to the second half of the season.


'Melo is only 26, the Nets are doing whatever they can to get him without the expectation they will become contenders based on the initial deal alone."
Posted by: divi3 | January 10, 2011 10:54 AM

Except there will be those expectations, at least on the part of the fans.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, Billups is now willing to go to New Jersey because the Nets will fully guarantee his $14.2 million salary for 2011-12

Geez...having an owner willing to spend sure greases the wheels. Though given the Snyder Era I'm sure most Wizards fans don't necessarily see the grass as greener

Posted by: divi3 | January 10, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

All in all, reading the comments here, if I'm NJ I make this trade; I'm I'm Denver I make this trade; If I'm Detroit, I don't. Would need some serious sweetening.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 10, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

About going to NY -- I thought the Knicks had their hearts set on Chris Paul. Conceivable they have room for all 3 stars?

Posted by: Samson151 | January 10, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

As for Anthony. I'm sure he doesn't expect them to win a title this season. But he would certainly expect them to compete for one during the life of his contract. And it's hard to see that happening, given the cap implications of this deal and the level/amount of competition. They'll have no real cap space for the life of Hamilton's deal (which runs to 2013, the summer just prior to the last year of Anthony's extension)) and they're giving up their most attractive young talent (other than Lopez) to get Anthony. They're going all in, at least for the next few years.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"All in all, reading the comments here, if I'm NJ I make this trade; I'm I'm Denver I make this trade; If I'm Detroit, I don't. Would need some serious sweetening."

Posted by: Samson151 | January 10, 2011 11:57 AM

I think getting rid of Hamilton's contract (and, at this point, Hamilton himself) is enough of a reason for Detroit to make the deal, as long as they aren't taking back salary in return (i.e., Hamilton for Murphy's expiring straight up). If NJ insists on including Petro in the deal, then yeah, there needs to be something else in the pot for the Pistons. (Of course, given his recent track record, Joe Dumars with cap space isn't necessarily a good thing.)

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

The Nets would be left with only Lopez and Humphries for bigs, but they lose all their assets other than Vujacic's expiring contract and rookie Damion James. Is that enough to trade Blatche for? How about Hilton for a second rounder?

Posted by: djnnnou | January 10, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean people are coming to the realization that Brook Lopez really isnt THAT good? He was all the rage as recently as this summer

Posted by: divi3

Lol, that dude definitely gives you a rash. Does he owe you money, or did he kick your dog or something?

His numbers are definitely down this season. Given the rationale presented often on these boards, I will suggest that AJ isn't using him properly and hasn't given him enough rah-rah speeches or shown him enough nature videos to be properly effective.

Posted by: ts35 | January 10, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The Nets would be left with only Lopez and Humphries for bigs, but they lose all their assets other than Vujacic's expiring contract and rookie Damion James. Is that enough to trade Blatche for? How about Hilton for a second rounder?

Posted by: djnnnou

For what he's worth, I thought I read they would likely also get Shelden Williams. They still also have some 1st rounders they can use as assets I think don't they? They're giving up two or three, but don't they have 5 total over the next two or three years?

Posted by: ts35 | January 10, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

But in order to use those picks as trade assets to upgrade the roster, they'll also need cap space and/or players with upside that other teams will want. They don't project to have much of either the next 2 or 3 years (unless they trade Lopez which, despite his (relative) struggles this season, is a better quality big man than they're likely to pick up off the street).

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

They still also have some 1st rounders they can use as assets I think don't they?

Yeah, you're right. According to Hoopsworld they have lottery protected ones from G.S. and Houston and another from the Lakers.

Posted by: djnnnou | January 10, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

But in order to use those picks as trade assets to upgrade the roster, they'll also need cap space and/or players with upside that other teams will want. They don't project to have much of either the next 2 or 3 years (unless they trade Lopez which, despite his (relative) struggles this season, is a better quality big man than they're likely to pick up off the street).

Posted by: kalo_rama

Tough to say exactly what the implications are without knowing the timing of a new CBA and what it will consist of. But for the sake of argument, if the rules are similar to what they are now there are enough loop holes for teams willing to spend over the LT threshold to maneuver over the course of a couple of seasons.

If the new CBA is more restrictive, that potentially helps NJ as much as it hurts them, because their main competition, Boston, Orlando and Miami are going to have just as serious or more serious cap issues to redress. The teams that may pose more issues for the Nets at that point are teams that kept their powder dry and left some cap space available.

Posted by: ts35 | January 10, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Tough to say exactly what the implications are without knowing the timing of a new CBA and what it will consist of. But for the sake of argument, if the rules are similar to what they are now there are enough loop holes for teams willing to spend over the LT threshold to maneuver over the course of a couple of seasons."

But most of those loopholes won't net (so to speak) real impact players. They can use the MLE and the LLE, but that's not likely to take them from a 1st round and out team to a contender in the next couple years if those are their only moves. I just don't think their base (post trade) is strong enough with some serious additional upgrades.


"If the new CBA is more restrictive, that potentially helps NJ as much as it hurts them, because their main competition, Boston, Orlando and Miami are going to have just as serious or more serious cap issues to redress. The teams that may pose more issues for the Nets at that point are teams that kept their powder dry and left some cap space available."

That really only applies insofar as teams' ability to spend additionally and add pieces. But that doesn't really help NJ, because those other teams started out already so far ahead of NJ in terms of talent and contention, therefore their need to add/improve isn't as significant. Meanwhile, with limited resources for upgrades, NJ will have a tough time catching up to the others.

And I think you have to add Chicago to the list of teams that NJ will by trying to catch. And they're under the tax threshold and only slightly above the (current) cap.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

EDIT:

I just don't think their base (post trade) is strong enough without some serious additional upgrades.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 10, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this trade will happen. Carmelo is going to sign with the Knicks in the off season I think.

So I don't see him signing an extension in NJ just to get out of Denver. And we are nearing the mid-point of the season, so if I were Melo, I would ride it out...

Posted by: kevenjones | January 10, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Whatever Carmella (drama queen) decides to do I hope it willl happen soon...He is worse than Favre...and who really cares outside of Denver?????

He has already declared he can't be resigned...whatever he does will not drastically improve the Nets...other pieces to the puzzle are still missing....and now that NY is competitive, who would pick the Nets to go to over the Knicks?????

Posted by: pentagon40 | January 10, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

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