Anthony had told Dolan he wanted that $65 million contract extension, and had no plans on waiting for free agency and the massive pay cut the new collective bargaining agreement would bring.
That's why Denver kept pushing for more and more in this deal, and why the Knicks had to keep giving more and more.
As much as the Brooklyn-born forward burned to play for the hometown team, he wasn't about to risk his $65 million payday to do it. Anthony wanted his money, even if he had to take it from the Nuggets or the New Jersey Nets.
"The Knicks knew if they didn't get Carmelo at the trade deadline," said one source close to the negotiations, "they were never going to get him."
This wasn't the case with LeBron James, because James never said he wanted to play in New York. Anthony told everyone he wanted to spend the balance of his prime in the Garden. If the Knicks didn't make it happen, they would've lost whatever respect they had left around the league.