Chat with Chris Sheridan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Chris Sheridan stops by to chat about the NBA season.
Sheridan has been covering the NBA full-time for the past 15 years. Since joining the ESPN.com staff in October of 2005, Chris has been providing in-depth reporting and commentary on the NBA and international basketball for all of ESPN's platforms. Follow him on Twitter: @csheridanespn.
Send your questions now and join Sheridan Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Chris Sheridan (2:00 PM)
Good afternoon from New York. Time to Melo out for the better part of an hour as we chat about all things NBA. In case you missed it, my latest take on the Melodrama can be found here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/
Have you been able to get any new info today about Melo's current thought process? Is he really ready to sign off on that extension now, or is he going to continue to hold out for the Knicks?
Chris Sheridan (2:05 PM)
I refer you to my TrueHoop blog post, which addresses some of that. But the bottom line is this: Until the Nets hear the word "Yes" directly from the mouth of Melo regarding the extension, they cannot be sure he is going to sign it. They would be crazy to do this deal without the guarantee that they would keep him. And yes, he still prefers the Knicks to the Nets. That has not changed. Will he hold out and keep this limbo going in order to try to force a trade to the Knicks? That is the million-dollar question.
Chris Sheridan (2:05 PM)
By the way, Melo is practicing with the Nuggets right now as we chat (shoutout to Tim Gelt of Nuggets p.r. staff for the update).
Doug (New York)
Chris, are you still sticking to your prediction that Carmelo will not sign an extension this season w/ anyone but the Knicks?
Chris Sheridan (2:08 PM)
It was not a prediction. It was a report. And the report said Melo will not agree to sign the extension if he is traded, unless he is traded to the Knicks. I stand by the report.
Chris, all signs seem to point at the Nuggets not dealing directly with the Knicks, and with your research/sources being that Melo will not sign an extension with anyone but the Knicks, can we conclude that the best bet at this point being someone other than NJ "rents" Melo and signs and trades him to NYK?
Chris Sheridan (2:12 PM)
The No. 1 reason why the Nuggets aren't dealing with the Knicks is because they prefer the Nets deal. The No. 2 reason, in my opinion, is because young Mr. Kroenke does not want to be held hostage by a player who only wants to be dealt to one team. I do know that the Nuggets are still speaking to other teams about contingency plans in case the NJ-Detroit deal falls through. And if someone else (Houston?) get him on a rental, I would not expect that team to then ship him off to the Knicks. The acquiring team would keep him and hope he could put them in realistic position to compete for the championship
Jay (Tacoma, WA)
Is Ujiri's reputation taking a pounding through all this? On the one hand, I feel for the guy...imagine your first GM job, and the first thing you have to do is trade your superstar away. Of course he'll ask for the moon, this will be his legacy.On the other hand, he keeps changing all his demands...which just makes him sound disorganized and recalcitrant. How are people talking about him these days?
Chris Sheridan (2:18 PM)
Ujiri's reputation is not taking a pounding, expect perhaps in the minds of Knicks executives who are frustrated that he doesn't like their players. What I'm hearing from other executives is mostly praise for Ujiri for trying to get the Nets deal done by flexing his own leverage in spite of Carmelo's desire to play in New York.
I've seen Houston's name pop up in the Carmelo trade discussions. What are they offering that Denver likes? Do the Rockets think they can convince Carmelo to stay with them or do they realize that it's just going to be a rental?
Chris Sheridan (2:21 PM)
I think they would be the No. 1 team that would take him as a rental if the price was right. And then, if they were going to lose him as a free agent, they'd make everyone happy by doing a sign-and-trade (provided such deals exist in the new labor agreement). Remember, they have the Knicks' 2011 pick to offer. And since that pick now looks like it'll fall be somewhere in the high-teens, low 20s range, it becomes more expendable than it would have been if the Knicks were struggling right now.
Yellow Fever (Jersey City, NJ)
Chris, not that I want to bash you or anything, but why would I trust you (or your sources) when numerous other reporters (including those employed by ESPN) indicate that Melo appears to be agreeable to a trade to the Nets?
Chris Sheridan (2:29 PM)
Everyone at ESPN has been consistent on this, including myself: Carmelo prefers the Knicks over the Nets, and it is the Nets who believe they can get Anthony to sign the extension, rather than Anthony being agreeable to signing it (big difference). As I wrote this morning, the Nets are extraordinarily confident with that part of the equation, and they received assurances Sunday that 'Melo would sign with them. But then Melo came out after the game last night and said "I don't see that happening." That's where things left off when everyone went to sleep. And as Marc Stein is reporting today, the dynamics of the deal have changed with the proposed inclusion of Al Harrington. So the situation remains fluid, let's put it that way.
This trade needs to get done by tomorrow night or the Pepsi Center will be an ugly place. Only reason for Nugget fans to pay to go to the games will be to boo Melo from intro to final buzzer. We won't sit back and allow some primadona player to hold our team hostage, this will not end well if it doesn't get done in the next 30 hours.
Chris Sheridan (2:32 PM)
Nuggets fans seemed to be delivering that message last night, Rick. Everyone involved in this process, both in Denver and New Jersey, is very, very fatigued by it. And that includes Melo. Does that fatigue impact his timetable/decision on agreeing to sign with the Nets? That, too, is one of the big questions of the day.
Chris, please offer your opinion on the likelihood of the following happening with the Nuggets: 1) the NJ deal happens in the next couple days, 2) a similar deal happens later, 3) a different trade altogether, 4) they ride it out and lose Carmelo for nothing. Thanks.
Chris Sheridan (2:34 PM)
The situation is so fluid, it is impossible to say. If this NJ-Det-Den deal falls through, it wouldn't be the first trade in NBA history to fall through, that's for sure.
Chris, heard some rumors that were chauncey traded to the Nets he would want a buy out....if thats the case some people down south are trying to make the case for big shot to join the big 3. what are your thoughts on that?
Chris Sheridan (2:38 PM)
Those were not rumors, Mendel. Chauncey's agent, Andy Miller, went on the record saying Billups will want a buyout if he's dealt to NJ. If the Nets don't want to give him a buyout, Chauncey has about 10 million reasons to show up for work each day. (Actually, he has about $20 million reasons if the Nets plan to pick up the final year of his contract, which is only partially guaranteed.)
Edwina (Edwina's Palace)
This Melo trade makes perfect sense from Detroit and Denver's perspectives, but I'm still having a hard time understanding what the Net's are thinking: they get an aging Billups and Hamilton, trade away a wealth of young talent, lose multiple 1st round draft picks, and get a player in Anthony who may not want to be there. Finally, this trade also financially handicaps them. What are they thinking?!?
Chris Sheridan (2:41 PM)
They want to go into Brooklyn with a superstar, and they have come to realize that Brook Lopez is not that superstar. 'Melo would be their foundation piece, and they'd try to build around him.
Chris Sheridan (2:44 PM)
Side note on Lopez: There was gentleman's action at the Bulls-Nets game a few nights ago on who would grab more rebounds: Kurt Thomas or Lopez? Thomas beat him 6-3. A couple nights later, the Bucks started Ersan Ilyasova at center as Bogut sat out. Lopez grabbed one (ONE!) rebound, and he got it on the offensive end off a missed free throw when the Bucks had two 6-foot-5 guys lined up alongside him, each of whom got a hand on the ball before it ended up in Lopez's hands. (To his credit, Lopez turned it into a three-point play). Ilyasova grabbed 13 boards.
If Melo stuck to his guns and said NY or the highway, would DEN eventually have to give in?
Chris Sheridan (2:46 PM)
No. They could trade him anywhere they pleased, and there is nothing 'Melo could do about it. He would then presumably opt out of his contract and become a free agent, thereby foregoing $83 million -- the $18M he is due to make next year, plus the $65M on the unsigned extension that is sitting on the table. Pretty high-stakes game of chicken, eh?
Dave (Chicago, IL)
how bout something other then a melo question. who do you see the Magic trading for by the deadline. we all know they probably need a big man. who do you see them goinng after? camby, randolph, other?
Chris Sheridan (2:50 PM)
In order to get Camby they'd have to trade Redick, and Redick has become a very important piece for them. So I'd say they'd decline on that one. What they need is another Gortat, a better-than-decent insurance policy. They can get that in Earl Barron, who is a free agent, or they can go after someone like Tony Battie, who they know and like and who is going unused in Philly.
So if the deal goes through, the Nets are basically getting the frontcourt Detroit could have had for the past 7 years if they selected Anthony over Darko? I hear Larry Brown is available too!
Chris Sheridan (2:50 PM)
Charles (San Jose)
I know NBA writers get a lot of material to produce articles that are widely read, but do you guys enjoy the process surrounding these negotiations?
Chris Sheridan (2:53 PM)
It is a challenge, and it is a daunting one, but it comes with the territory. The No. 1 objective is to be accurate and informative, and the best guys in the business adhere to that code -- even when it disrupts thir sleep cycles for days and sometimes weeks on end.
Josh (New York)
Can you explain to me why Chauncey would want a buyout if the deal goes through as proposed? In the east, with Chauncey, Rip, Mello, Humprhies and Lopez, shouldn't they make the playoffs and at the very least be a tough out? How is this situation any worse than that of Denver (outside of his family not living in New York/New Jersey). If Chauncey's desire is to play for a winner, aren't the Nets a potential "Winner"?
Chris Sheridan (2:54 PM)
Denver is home to Chauncey, and he wants to stay with the Nuggets until he retires and then move into the front office. If they trade him, he will feel betrayed.
But regarding the game of chicken, Anthony ultimately has the upper hand doesn't he? I mean worst case scenario for him is to walk away at the end of this season and go play somewhere else (NYC) for less money. But he'll still be a star and still payed well. Denver is then left without a legitimate star and aging just about everywhere else. I just don't see how Denver doesn't eventually cave if Melo plays hard ball.
Chris Sheridan (2:56 PM)
That's why this is a particularly riveting game of chicken.
Rob (New York)
What's the actual in difference that Carmelo would lose if he doesn't sign an extension and signs max deal as free agent?
Chris Sheridan (2:58 PM)
Probably quite significant. Max salaries could be lowered in the next CBA, though nobody knows for sure. What Melo and those in his camp DO know for sure is that there are 83 million guaranteed dollars on the line if Melo signs on the dotted line. That's a lot of poultry.
How will the newly formed Nets be any better than the current Denver roster? I feel as if Caarmelo is getting pressured into this.
There are rumblings that those in Carmelo's inner cirlce are becoming increasingly agitated with Leon Rose's handling of the behind the scenes with Denver. Any truth to this?
Chris Sheridan (3:00 PM)
Tony and Greg, the biggest mystery to me in all of this is why Leon Rose is trying so hard to get Melo to the Nets when Melo wants to go to the Knicks. It makes ZERO sense if you look at it from the perspective that an agent should be doing what his client wishes him to do.
Chris Sheridan (3:01 PM)
That's a wrap for this week, folks. Thanks for all the good questions, and we'll do this again a week from now.