A person with knowledge of the proposed Carmelo Anthony trade says the holdup is over the framework of the deal, not the All-Star forward's willingness to commit to New Jersey.
Though they appeared close to a deal 11 days ago, the teams are still negotiating what the Nets would send to Denver, the person told The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anyonymity because he was not authorized to speak publiclly about the trade.
New Jersey has offered to ship six players and at least two first-round draft picks to Denver in the deal that would send Anthony to the Nets along with former Pistons teammates Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton.
But the teams haven't been able to agree on the exact price that will persuade the Nuggets to finally part with their franchise player
The person added that the Nets are not concerned about Anthony's commitment to the franchise for the long term should the trade be completed, saying they are convinced the 26-year-old will sign a $65 million, three-year contract extension if New Jersey, Denver and Detroit can agree on the others parts of the deal.
The teams continued their negotiations on Tuesday, but little was happening, the person said.
Anthony has refused to sign an extension that the Nuggets put on the table before the season started, leading Denver to listen to trade proposals.
The Nets and Nuggets came close to making a deal for Anthony before the season started. Talks renewed in earnest after New Year's with more than a dozen players involved in what has to be considered a megadeal.
However, the on-again, off-again process appears to be weighing on Anthony and casual observers.
"I stopped following it. It's getting to the point where you're just like, move on already or don't," said Miami guard Dwyane Wade, a friend of Anthony's "I'm sure 'Melo is more tired of it than anybody. But it's just to the point, as a sports fan, you're just, 'All right, it's just enough.' I'm sure for everybody in Denver and everybody in New Jersey as well, and whatever other team comes into it, it's been a long saga. It's been a long soap opera. Hopefully it comes to an end and they can focus on basketball."
There were reports over the weekend that the Nets had asked for and received permission from the Nuggets to talk to Anthony.
The high-scoring forward scoffed when asked about them Sunday, calling the reports false.
"I don't want to talk to nobody," Anthony said. "I'll let the front office handle that. It ain't my job to be talking to New Jersey, New York, Lakers, Dallas, no one. That's not my job to do."
Anthony, who could become a free agent at this season, is the centerpiece of the deal and a star that New Jersey feels it can build a team around, especially when it moves to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season.
New Jersey would send point guard Devin Harris, rookie power forward Derrick Favors, the third draft pick overall, guards Anthony Morrow, Quinton Ross and Ben Uzoh, swingman Stephen Graham and at least two first-round draft picks to Denver.
In addition to Anthony and Billups, the Nuggets would send Shelden Williams and Terrico White, who is injured, to the Nets.
Since the trade talk started, the Nets have gone into a tailspin, losing six straight games, including all four on a West Coast trip that ended in Oakland on Monday.
New Jersey returns to action on Wednesday at home against Utah, and new owner Mikhail Prokhorov plans to be at the game to celebrate an evening of Russian culture.
Prokhorov, who took over the team last year, also plans to talk to the media about his first full year at the helm, a season that has seen New Jersey post a 10-31 record at the halfway point, the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.
Nets coach Avery Johnson said Monday he hasn't been told of any potential meeting with Anthony, adding he expected no roster change before the game against the Jazz.