NEWARK, N.J. (AP)—Mikhail Prokhorov was a day away from a sitdown with Carmelo Anthony when he decided to call the whole thing off.
And not just the meeting. The New Jersey Nets' entire pursuit of Anthony, too.
"There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive," Prokhorov said in a news conference before the Nets faced the Utah Jazz. "I am instructing our team to walk away from the deal."
It wasn't just the price that bothered the Russian billionaire, who apparently conducts his business in quietier ways.
"Really, I am not happy with the way the deal has gone until now," said Prokhorov, who fielded questions in English and Russian. "It has taken too long. It has been played out in public. The uncertainty has taken a toll on the players ... and I believe it has cost us several games."
Prokhorov canceled a planned meeting with Anthony on Thursday and said there was no chance -- that's a big nyet -- that the trade would be resurrected. The Nets had lost six straight before beating Utah 103-95 at home after Prokhorov pronounced the Anthony deal dead.
Anthony said following his 35-point performance in Denver's 112-107 win over Oklahoma City that he would have liked to meet with Prokhorov.
"Yeah, he's a very interesting man. So, for me to just be in the room with him and just have a conversation with him, I would have loved that," Anthony said.
Denver general manager Masai Ujiri declined to answer questions about the Nets' decision, beyond saying the Nuggets have been in talks "with plenty of teams" regarding Anthony and insisting he harbored no ill will toward the Nets for calling off talks.
Nuggets coach George Karl said he wasn't surprised that Prokhorov pulled the plug.
"I've been one of the guys who have been kind of hinting to you that this is a lot farther away from happening than you all think it's going to be," Karl said. "But we've got a fun game, a hell of a team to play against tonight ... and I'm more excited about that than my billionaire friend from Russia kind of throwing another curveball or knuckleball into the process.
"If it's true, it's true. If it isn't true, it isn't true," Karl added. "If it's a ploy in the negotiation, that's for the guys upstairs to figure out."
There were reports Wednesday that Anthony's representatives had let the Nuggets know that the 26-year-old forward was interested in playing for the Chicago Bulls. Houston and the Knicks also have been mentioned in trade talks involving Anthony.
The deal between the Nets, Nuggets and Detroit Pistons was huge in name power and the number of players. New Jersey had offered to ship six players and at least two first-round draft picks to Denver in a three-team deal that would have sent Anthony to the Nets along with former Pistons teammates Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton.
Prokhorov decided Tuesday to end talks with the Nuggets, and general manager Billy King said he informed them via text message as Prokhorov was speaking on Wednesday.
Prokhorov said the Nets received permission from Denver to talk with Anthony on Monday night, but he never spoke to the All-Star forward.
"Maybe he sent me an e-mail but I never use computer, that's why, maybe, I missed it or maybe carrier pigeon got lost," Prokhorov said.
Anthony said he never told the Nets he wouldn't sign his extension to facilitate a trade.