Newsday confirmed that Knicks and Denver Nuggets officials met face to face Thursday night in Los Angeles to continue negotiations involving Carmelo Anthony, according to a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
The source said there is no deal in place between the teams, but the parameters set earlier this week remain and the teams continue to negotiate within those parameters. Talks were expected to continue through the weekend.
According to multiple sources, adding Danilo Gallinari to an already big package has the Knicks concerned about overpaying in the deal. According to various reports, as many as three starters would be involved in the deal, including Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler.
Yahoo! reported that a potential deal would send Gallinari, Chandler, Felton, Eddy Curry and a first-round pick to Denver for Anthony, veteran guard Chauncey Billups and some smaller contracts to make the deal work. A source confirmed the Yahoo! report.
A source said the Knicks had a limit and they "kind of passed it" with the latest offer.
Another source said earlier on Friday that the Knicks will not bow out without making at least one more attempt at acquiring Anthony before the trade deadline on Feb. 24. Anthony has made it known that going to the Knicks, and teaming up with Amar'e Stoudemire, is his main priority.
Multiple sources said that the Nuggets hope to have a deal in place by the end of the weekend to present to Anthony. Anthony would then have to agree to a three-year, $65 million contract extension before a trade was official.
The Daily News was the first to report the Thursday meeting.
Anthony, who is in Los Angeles this weekend for Sunday's All-Star Game and various related events, said earlier Friday that he's ready for all of the trade talk and rumors to end.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm ready for something .... I'm just ready for this whole thing to be over with," Anthony said.
The Bergen Record reported earlier on Friday that the Nets and Nuggets had reached an agreement on a trade that would land Anthony in a nine-player deal that also includes Billups. But again, Anthony would have to agree to a contract extension with the Nets which, to date, he has been reluctant to do.
Anthony, however, said no meeting had been arranged with the Nets or Knicks to discuss a contract extension, but the "day is still young."
"Nothing, I don't know nothing about any meetings or anything," Anthony said.
Anthony said before the weekend is over he would like to have a legitimate offer on the table and meet with that team.
"I would love to sit down with (Nets owner) Mr. (Mikhail) Prokhorov or (Knicks owner) Mr. (James) Dolan, whoever the Denver Nuggets send me to, have a sit down with them," Anthony said. "I want to look them in the eye and see what the future holds."
He declined to say which team was his preference.
"I really don't," Anthony said. "I can't sit here and say I want to be here or I want to be there. I can't do that."
When asked about what was appealing about the Knicks, Anthony did not want to talk about the team and make it seem like New York was his preferred destination. But he did say: "New York already has something there with Amar'e. That city is looking forward to bringing back good basketball and they're looking forward to that. If that's my destination, then that's something I can bring to that city."
Anthony also said that remaining in Denver is still a possibility.
"I've been telling y'all that since Day 1. That's still an option."
Another person directly involved in the Anthony trade situation told Newsday that there is still great skepticism that Anthony will sign off on a deal with the Nets as long as the Knicks are still in the game before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
A source with knowledge of the situation told Newsday that Prokhorov and hip hop star Jay-Z, who owns a minor stake in the team, are looking to meet with Anthony on Friday to sell him on making the commitment to the Nets. The source said that Nets ownership wants this immediate meeting to avoid any more media coverage of the drawn-out proceedings between the Nuggets and Nets, who have twice this season seen the plug pulled on a deal that seemed to be done. On Jan. 19, Prokhorov announced that the Nets were no longer pursuing Anthony, but, as Newsday reported last Saturday, the Nuggets reached out to them last week in an attempt to bring them back into the negotiations.
The Nuggets and Nets are trying to force Anthony to agree to the deal, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The Daily News reported in Friday's editions that the Knicks were also expected to meet with Anthony here in Los Angeles, but it is unclear why a meeting would need to take place and why the Nuggets would permit a meeting if they had a trade in place with another team.
If a deal can't be reached with the Knicks, the Nets appear to be a very strong fallback option. The Nuggets all along have preferred to deal with the Nets, who reportedly would be giving up rookie Derrick Favors, plus four first round draft picks, in the deal.
Jay-Z is pushing for a meeting with Anthony on Friday because he is hosting his annual "2 Kings" dinner party with LeBron James on Saturday. The two have this event at every all-star weekend.
Media availability for the NBA all-star players is later Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Anthony is clearly going to have to address the latest rumors, which he has been doing all season long.