SALT LAKE CITY — Whether Andrei Kirilenko stays in Utah or plays in Denver this season apparently teeters on "The Decision: Part II."
A league source confirmed to the Deseret News on Friday that "serious discussions" were ongoing to pull off a widely reported four-team trade, which would include the Jazz shipping AK-47 to the Nuggets and Utah receiving Charlotte forward Boris Diaw and New Jersey swingman Quinton Ross.
Per the source and multiple reports, the blockbuster hinges on Carmelo Anthony's decision to be traded from the Nuggets to the Nets.
As of late Friday night, nothing had been finalized, and CBSSports.com reported that two NBA executives "dismissed" a New York Daily News report claiming Anthony had indeed accepted his trade.
If the star small forward concedes to be dealt to New Jersey instead of New York, his reported preference, and Melo agrees to accept a max three-year contract extension with the Nets, the source believes all of "it goes through."
The deal, first reported Friday by ESPN.com, would send the trade-demanding Anthony to New Jersey; with Kirilenko, Nets rookie Derrick Favors and multiple first-round picks going to Denver; N.J.'s Devin Harris heading to Charlotte; and Utah receiving Diaw, Ross and luxury-tax relief. Multiple reports also listed New Jersey's Jarvis Hayes and Charlotte's DJ Augustin as being potential pieces in the deal.
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor responded with a "no comment" when asked about the possible blockbuster that would send a longtime Utah player he's spoken highly of this offseason to a Northwest Division rival.
Jazz CEO Greg Miller did not immediately respond to an interview request Friday night. The news of the reported trade talk came as a surprise to the Kirilenko camp. Friday evening, Kirilenko texted KSL-TV's Tom Kirkland and told him, "I'll be in Utah Sunday and have no idea about a trade." He also said he wants to stay in Utah.
Earlier Friday, agent Marc Fleisher said he hadn't heard of the alleged player swap, either.
A source told ESPN the four teams were "seriously engaged" in discussing the deal on Thursday and Friday.
"I know nothing about it," Fleisher told the Deseret News. "There's no way for me to respond. So I don't know if there's any truth to it."
Though the deal is complicated, it's believed the Jazz would not have to match salaries to be within the required amount because a team under the salary cap is involved. That means Utah would pick up approximately $7.7 million of salary relief by trading away Kirilenko's $17.8 million contract and absorbing the $9 million due to Diaw and Ross' $1.1 million deal, if the trade pans out that way.
That would put Utah's salary below the luxury-tax threshold in the $66 million range, not counting a possible $1.1 million for Kyrylo Fesenko should he decide to sign the Jazz's qualifying offer (see related story).
Fleisher said he "(did) not have any indication from Utah" that the team might be shopping Kirilenko around. He said Kirilenko is happy in Utah and has not asked to be sent elsewhere.
Fleisher also said Denver hadn't contacted him to see if his client, who spent part of the summer nursing his calf back to full strength, would be amenable to playing in the Mile High City.
The 28-year-old Diaw has a $9 million player option for the 2011-12 season. The 6-foot-8 French player averaged 11.3 points and 5.2 rebounds last season.
Diaw, considered a good defender and passer, has also played for Phoenix and Atlanta since joining the NBA in 2003-04. He has averaged 9.6 points on 49.6 percent shooting from the field and 33.2 percent accuracy from 3-point land. He also averaged 4.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.6 blocks in seven seasons.
Kirilenko has spent his entire nine-year NBA career in Utah after being drafted by the Jazz in 1999.82 comments on this story
Known for his stat-sheet-filling versatility, Kirilenko has career averages of 12.4 points, 5.7 boards, 2.8 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.4 steals.
Kirilenko played in Utah's final two playoff games against the Los Angeles Lakers, but he missed the first half of that second-round series, the entire Denver series, and 15 of the last 17 regular-season games with multiple calf injuries. Ross is a journeyman swing player who played four years with the Clippers followed by short stays in Memphis, Washington and Dallas. The 29-year-old SMU product has averaged 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in six seasons.