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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Breaking News: Melo deal off

By Mike Mazzeo

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Melo Drama is finally over. And shockingly, the deal is off.

New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced during a Wednesday news conference that he has told management to “walk away” from trade discussions involving Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony.

“I’m not happy with the way ... this deal has gone until  now,” said Prokhorov, who added that this is his final decision. “It has taken too long. It has been played out in public and it certainly has taken a toll on the players and I believe that it has cost us several games.

“I think that management did a great job, but there comes a time when the price is simply too expensive. I’m instructing our team to walk away from the deal.”

Prokhorov was reportedly expected to meet with Anthony on Thursday in order to convince the 26-year-old to sign a 3-year, $65 million extension that would’ve finalized a multi-player deal to bring the talented swingman to New Jersey. The Nets, who were positioned to trade at least six players -- including point guard Devin Harris and rookie Derrick Favors -- and two first round draft picks in the deal, were also expected to receive Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups and Detroit Pistons small forward Richard Hamilton. However, that meeting, Prokhorov said, is off.

“The meeting that our management was supposed to have in Denver with Carmelo [Thursday] is hereby canceled.” Prokhorov said.

"I never met with Carmelo or spoke with him," he said. "Maybe he sent me an e-mail but, really I don’t use [the] computer. Maybe I missed it. Or maybe a carrier pigeon got lost."

Favors, the 19-year-old selected No. 3 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft who was rumored to be the centerpiece in the multiple-player deal, was shocked upon hearing the news in the locker room before the game.

"I don't have to worry about it [any] more," Favors said. "It's over with. This is my first time hearing it. I'm excited."

Prokhorov said the goal is still to win a championship in five years. But his team will have to accomplish those lofty aspirations without the services of Anthony, who is averaging 23.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

"We will come back to the table every time we need the right player for the team. But really I'm not ready to overpay. Because as soon as you make a mistake in the NBA, you can wait for the next chance for the next five or six years. That's why I prefer to be really patient and I want to thank the New Jersey fans for their patience."

Added GM Billy King: "We discussed it and this is what he came up with, this was his idea."