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Report: Mavericks throw hat in Melo sweepstakes — but only as a rental

Dec 21, 2010, 11:56 PM EDT

Denver Nuggets v Charlotte Bobcats Getty Images

Now we have some confirmation on an early post on this site that came with a little bit of speculation — it is indeed the Dallas Mavericks that is the contending team that has thrown it’s hat into the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes.

However they only want him as a “rental,” according to Ken Berger of CBSSports, who broke the story. Meaning they don’t want to offer him a big contract extension, they just want him for these upcoming playoffs.

Part of Dallas’ strategy, according to sources, is to shift the Anthony discussions to what Cuban recently called the “rent-a-player” phase, which would drive down the price and encourage other teams to present offers without assurances that Anthony would stay put for five years — the two he has remaining (including the early-termination option for 2011-12) plus the extension.

Such potential suitors, including the Mavs, do not have enough of what Denver is looking for to compete with New Jersey’s best offer. But if Dallas is successful in shifting Denver’s focus to “rental” deals, the Nets would then have to decide how much they are willing to give up to acquire a franchise cornerstone for their move to Brooklyn — even if Anthony could leave them in the dust as a free agent before the team even got there.

Everything still starts and ends with the New Jersey situation. No, not The Situation. We mean the Anthony/Nets situation — the Nets have by far the best offer with Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy and his expiring contract, plus a boatload of picks. However, they Nets are only interested if Anthony will sign an extension to stay with the team for five years and be there for the 2012 opening of the franchise’s new building in Brooklyn.

So far, Anthony has been hesitant to agree to an extension (reports differ on whether he is open to an extension there, but right now his people seem to be saying no). Bottom line is Anthony does not want to be the lone star on a team playing in Newark for another season, he only wants to go if other stars come. Maybe Chauncey Billups and Al Harrington from Denver. The Nets are working on that, but it is a tall order.

Berger also reports that the Rockets are trying to get in on the fun.

What the rent-a-player push does is give the Nuggets another option. Those offers from the Mavericks and others may not be as good as the Nets’ offer, but if the Nets pull out because Anthony will not sign an extension the Nuggets have a Plan B. Those options may be better than Anthony’s preferred destination of the Knicks.

Also, the thought of being traded and not getting his three-year, $64 million extension might motivate Anthony to accept going to the Nets. If he waits to be a free agent and signs wherever under a new CBA, Anthony could be out millions or even tens of millions.

Money often talks. And that’s one thing Cuban has and knows how to use.

  1. polegojim - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    Melo’s claim to fame will be as a rental. His ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ approach assures his overall value is limited for any team that picks him up.

    The Mavs plan is solid, and any bball organization that thinks differently will be as disappointed as the Nuggets.

    That said, could Karl be the reason that other winning players are floundering in nothing more than mediocrity? The Nuggets are stagnant and tired.

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