NEW YORK — The Nets’ game plan to suit up Carmelo Anthony against the Jazz on Wednesday night — dubbed “An Evening of Russian Culture Night” — cannot succeed unless Mikhail Prokhorov, who will be in attendance, met with the Nuggets’ fast-fading franchise player days beforehand to alleviate concerns he might have about becoming the team’s marquee attraction in Newark for 1 1/2 seasons before it shifts to his beloved borough of Brooklyn.
That would mean Prokhorov almost certainly had to travel to Denver in the last 48 hours, because Melo’s schedule was kind of set. Logic dictates they probably were introduced Friday.
Don’t misunderstand; it would be erroneous to represent the majority owner’s trip out west as a recruiting mission.
Melo doesn’t need to be convinced. He wants to speak to Prokhorov man-to-man.
Wants to hear what’s expected from him and express his desires and trepidation.
Wants to feel comfortable they can establish a rapport and soon compete for a championship.
Wants all that secure in his mind before he’ll endorse the trade involving a multitude of Nuggets, Nets and Pistons and agree to a three-year extension that would add up to $83 million over the next four seasons.
Lost in the months-long Melodrama is the petty cash ($18.5 million) Anthony would forfeit should he decide ultimately to become a free agent and opt out of next season’s salary.
There is $20.85 million per season in the bag for Melo over that four-year span should he choose to seize it from the table. Or he can gamble David Stern is bluffing regarding negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement; the NBA commissioner has notified the union the league aims to carve contracts nearly in half and thinly slice guarantees.
It’s Melo’s call.
Personally, I’ve already called the Nets for credentials to Wednesday night’s game.
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If Friday night was a Samuel Dalembert showcase for the benefit of the Knicks (six blocks, eight points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes) it won’t be long before he’s in their display case.
If Donnie Walsh tells me he’s not interested in the Kings’ seemingly extraneous 7-footer (“Geoff Petrie really didn’t get Sam just to trade him,” underlines a Sacramento official) I’ll go away quietly.
However, just in case he is, I’m enclosing a report that was put together for me by an expert talent scout on short notice.
“Dalembert always felt he should be a bigger part of the offense when he was with the 76ers. He wasn’t satisfied to rebound and block shots and be the recipient of lobs and passes off penetration that led to dunks.
“Allen Iverson and Andre Miller got him many a high percentage shot. He can shoot a 15-foot face-up, but anytime he dribbles the ball it is likely to result in a turnover.
“He is a superior runner, rebounder and shot blocker. His hands are good enough to allow him to catch in traffic and dunk. He is a good free throw shooter for a big man.
“He has a very low basketball IQ. He is not a dumb guy. He can assemble and disassemble computers but makes dumb plays, usually when he dribbles.
“He is a poor passer who likes to make a circus pass once or twice a game that usually leads to a turnover. He also has mental lapses when executing offensive plays, as well as defensive schemes.
“Dalembert is a different guy. Not a bad guy, not a troublemaker, but he has no idea as to who he is or who he should be. He thinks he is one of the best players in the league.”
Sources say the members of the House of Representatives are planning to read to the Knicks’ constitution out loud: Good teams make adjustments; bad teams make alibis.
Let’s see to which camp Mike D’Antoni’s boys pay their tuition.
Wrapping up a four-game foray to the old West, the Knicks gave up 131 points to the Jazz.
“The last game of a long trip is always difficult,” has been a refried refrain for years. “Guys are looking ahead to going home.”
The Knicks’ return to Madison Square Garden two nights later against the Kings resulted in our heroes going down with nary a whimper. Their starting five went 16-63 from the field. The team got outrebounded, 60-49. And it lost by 10 dreadful digits
“The first game back off the road is always difficult,” has been a loser’s lament for years and was heard again afterward. “Guys are trying to get back in their routine.”
For their own health and well-being, it would be prudent for the Knicks to get with the program because a three-game jaunt (Rockets, Spurs, Thunder) awaits.
Either way, stay tuned for the next scintillating installment of “The Mike D’Antoni Show.”
Peter Vecsey cover the NBAfor the New York Post.