On the off-chance that you didn’t notice, the Carmelo Anthony deal didn’t progress like your usual big-name trade. The longer it dragged out, the steeper the price became.
Typically, a team loses leverage as the summer, and free agency, get closer and closer. In this case, though, Summer 2011 served as an ultimatum of sorts. No one, especially Anthony, wanted to see things unresolved when the CBA expired.
In fact, while you would do well to take The New York Post with a grain of salt, this report was revealing–if nothing else, for its bleakness:
A source said Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was contemplating doing a deal without a contract extension in place for Anthony — confident the All-Star forward would not turn down $65 million with NBA labour strife possibly coming this summer.
In other words, Prokhorov was willing to risk coming away empty-handed, simply because the allure of the current salary structure would be too much for any player to pass up. Despite all the problem with the Nets, and how far they appear to be from contending, as a situation, they would be preferable to the uncertainty of a post-CBA world. Especially if, god forbid, there were a lockout. Then Melo wouldn’t even have a job.
It took a while for all involved parties to realise what made this summer different from all others. And to be sure, this undercurrent also didn’t really register with the media until fairly late in the game. But, as much as Melo wanted to win a title, and leave Denver, he least of all wanted to spend the summer in utter, unpaid uncertainty. That makes this trade fairly unprecedented.
For David Stern, it’s a good sign that he has the Players Association right where he wants them.
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