As the New Jersey Nets continue to work feverishly for a deal involving Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony, the Cavaliers are waiting for the phone to ring.
The Nets and Nuggets agreed to terms on a deal that would send Anthony to the Nets, according to The (Bergen County) Record, but the deal is contingent on two things: Anthony agreeing to a contract extension with the Nets and a third team willing to take on Troy Murphy's $12 million expiring contract for a draft pick or two.
At one time, the Cavaliers thought they were close to a similar three-team deal, but it fell apart, according to a league source. The Cavaliers have not been contacted by either the Nuggets or Nets in recent days, according to a league source, but are still open to taking on Murphy — if the compensation is right.
In the deal reported by The Record, the Nets would receive Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Sheldon Williams, Melvin Ely and Renaldo Balkman from the Nuggets. In exchange, the Nets would send Murphy, Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Ben Uzoh and four first-round picks to Denver.
The Nuggets have no interest in keeping Murphy and need another place to ship him, which is where the Cavs and their $14.5 million trade exception come in.
One of the picks the Nuggets would acquire is the Los Angeles Lakers' first rounder this season. The Cavs won't take Murphy for just that pick, according to a source, since they will already have a high second-round pick this summer. The Cavs, in essence, could be picking back-to-back in that scenario at the bottom of the first round and the beginning of the second.
They don't have much interest in that scenario, and would either have to have a second pick added to the deal or receive a different pick.
The pick the Cavs have more interest in, according to a league source, is the Golden State Warriors' partially-protected first-round pick next season. That pick is protected through the top seven, meaning it cannot be traded if the Warriors are selecting in the top seven of the draft. Otherwise, it's fair game.
It's unclear at this point if the Nuggets would be willing to let go of that pick simply to unload Murphy.