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Cavaliers Trade Exception Could Be Used In Nets-Nuggets Deal For 'Melo

The Carmelo Anthony saga rages on - nearly 5 months since trade talks first surfaced.  On again, off again talks between the Denver Nuggets and the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and a bevy of other teams is nearing a climax with less than a week to go before the NBA Trade Deadline.  I'm sure by now you know the details - Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov proclaiming that the Nets were out of the 'Melodrama, the Knicks claiming the Nuggets were asking too much for Carmelo.

And now, the return of the Nets, and this time they appear closer than ever to acquiring the 3rd overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, the same draft that saw the Cavaliers select LeBron James #1. Yahoo! Sports reported Thursday night that the Nets, in the latest iteration of the trade, are prepared to send Devin Harris, Troy Murphy, Ben Uzoh and four first-round picks along with Favors to Denver for Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Melvin Ely and Renaldo Balkman.

That's where the Cavaliers come in.  The Nuggets have no desire to take on Troy Murphy's $12 million expiring contract.  They want a 3rd team to get involved.  Enter Cleveland, and that sweet $14 million trade exception.  For their time, trouble and money, the Cavaliers would likely receive Murphy and one of the four Nets draft picks.  Not a bad haul for a team looking to acquire as many future assets as possible.

All of this is far from certain, of course.  The New York Knicks are still right in the thick of it, and could play a risky game of Russian roulette - pun intended - knowing that Carmelo wants to end up in New York anyway.  The risk there, of course, is the uncertain labor future this summer.  Carmelo may want to get his name on that 3-year, $65 million extension right now, knowing a new CBA could mean much less money for the players.

Whatever the case, the Cavaliers are expected to be right in the middle of the Trade Deadline action.  With the NBA focused on the 2011 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, teams will be getting down to business and the Cavaliers have a huge bullet in their chamber, should some assets become available to fall in their lap.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.