Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl

New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, through his spokeswoman, has publicly re-stated last month’s proclamation that his team is done chasing a trade for Carmelo Anthony.

“Mikhail has not changed his mind,” Ellen Pinchuk told The Associated Press in an e-mail Thursday.  But sources close to the situation told that the Denver Nuggets — after widespread reports on Wednesday said the Nets have indeed rejoined the New York Knicks in trying to trade for Anthony — are operating under the assumption that Prokhorov and Anthony will finally meet face-to-face at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

The Nuggets would encourage that meeting, sources said, because trading with New Jersey has always appealed more to the Nuggets than dealing with the Knicks, since Denver is known to covet Nets rookie Derrick Favors more than any other player who’s been made available to them in a saga that dates to mid-September. Sources say the Nuggets, furthermore, remain well aware that New Jersey will not consent to an Anthony trade, no matter what is agreed upon between the teams, unless Anthony agrees to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension with the Nets as part of the swap.

The New York Daily News reported on Friday that the Knicks also are scheduled to meet with Anthony this weekend in Los Angeles. The Daily News said the meetings will be similar to the ones CCA, which represents Anthony and LeBron James, set up for James last summer in Cleveland.

Before Prokhorov so forcefully announced on Jan. 19 that he was pulling the Nets out of the Anthony chase, New Jersey was pressing hard to secure a face-to-face meeting with the All-Star forward so the Russian billionaire and Nets minority owner Jay-Z could directly sell Anthony on the team’s future in Brooklyn and address Anthony’s presumed reluctance to sign the extension in hopes of getting him to change that stance.

Sources told on Thursday night that Prokhorov, despite Pinchuk’s statement, has been negotiating directly with Nuggets ownership this week while awaiting confirmation of a meeting where the Nets might finally be able to lobby Anthony to abandon his longstanding determination to be a Knick.

The trading deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

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.

But sources told that not all of those picks would wind up in Denver’s hands. At least one of the first-rounders is earmarked to be packaged with Murphy to a third team — either in this trade or in a separate deal — because the Nuggets have maintained for months that they’re unwilling to absorb Murphy’s $12 million expiring contract for luxury-tax reasons. The Nets and Nuggets have engaged numerous teams over the course of the season — including Minnesota, Cleveland and Detroit — in an attempt to find a landing spot, other than Denver, for Murphy.

It remains to be seen how the Knicks will respond to the latest apparent threat from their neighbors in New Jersey. The Nets possess assets that have kept them in the hunt for Anthony despite the fact that it’s an open secret around the league that Madison Square Garden is Anthony’s preferred destination.

The Knicks have been reluctant for months to part with promising youngsters such as Danilo Gallinari and rookie swingman Landry Fields, believing that gutting their roster to get Anthony makes little long-term sense. Yet one source close to the situation echoed the rising belief that Walsh might have no choice if Knicks owner James Dolan, as many observers anticipate, takes a Melo-at-all-costs stance as many observers anticipate.

“Don’t forget Donnie is still trying to get a contract extension,” said the source, suggesting that finding a way to acquire Anthony now, whatever the Knicks give up, might be the clincher for Walsh to get his own extension.

Yet it’s believed that Anthony once and for all can squash New Jersey’s interest if he tells Prokhorov himself that he doesn’t want to sign the extension with the Nets. Prokhorov longs to have a full-fledged star in place before the franchise’s planned move to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season, but New Jersey can’t give up assets such as Favors and multiple draft picks without knowing it has Anthony locked up for the long term.

Sources said that New York and New Jersey, entering All-Star Weekend, were the only two teams seriously engaged with the Nuggets in Anthony talks.

One source said that the Dallas Mavericks — long considered right there with Houston at the top of the list of teams willing to gamble on trading for Anthony without his signature on a contract extension — have been sufficiently convinced that Anthony remains determined to ultimately be a Knick. The source said that the Mavs have thus decided that there’s no way they could include prized young guard Roddy Beaubois in a trade with Denver because keeping Anthony beyond this season will be so difficult.

The Nets have remained quietly confident all season, despite the collapse of multiteam near-deals for Anthony in September (involving Charlotte and Utah) and January (Detroit), that Anthony eventually would agree to extend with them after meeting with Prokhorov and Jay-Z. reported Wednesday that Anthony, meanwhile, has grown frustrated with New York’s inability to complete the trade and corresponding reports that New York is hesitant to surrender Gallinari and/or Fields for him.

Sources close to Anthony have long maintained that the 26-year-old wants so badly to wind up in New York that he’d be willing to opt out of the final year of his current contract and become a free agent this summer, even if that meant potentially losing millions of dollars under the terms of the next collective bargaining agreement. But Anthony’s willingness to leave significant money on the table has seemed to wane as the Thursday trade deadline draws nearer. also reported Wednesday that Denver likes Wilson Chandler, Gallinari, Fields andTimofey Mozgov and wants two, if not three, of those players as well as Knicks point guardRaymond Felton in exchange for Billups. There also have been numerous reports that such a deal would also include a first-round pick from Minnesota going to Denver — with the Wolves acquiringAnthony Randolph from the Knicks — but New York is clearly reluctant to part with so much ofAmare Stoudemire’s supporting cast.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for Chris Broussard is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. The Associated Press contributed to this report.