Anthony doesn't want to be distraction, won't appeal

Updated: December 22, 2006, 1:43 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony has decided not to appeal his 15-game suspension.

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Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio, George Karl says he's not concerned about Melo and The Answer co-existing in Denver. He likes his retooled team's chances in the playoffs. And he isn't backing off his comments about Isiah Thomas.

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Bill Duffy, who heads the firm that represents Anthony, said Thursday morning that the league's leading scorer decided he "doesn't want to be a further distraction" by appealing the lengthy ban handed down by NBA commissioner David Stern after last Saturday night's brawl at Madison Square Garden.

"It's Melo's wish to just keep the focus on basketball," Duffy told ESPN.com. "In his words, he's just going to take [the suspension] and keep the focus on keeping himself ready."

League rules enable players to appeal any league suspension longer than 12 games to an independent arbitrator. Because the Nuggets' home game Wednesday was snowed out, Anthony still has to sit out 14 more games, meaning Anthony is likely restricted to practicing alongside new teammate Allen Iverson until Denver hosts Memphis on Jan. 22, unless the Phoenix game is rescheduled between now and then.

Nuggets swingman J.R. Smith, according to the Denver Post, has formally appealed his 10-game suspension. Appeals for suspensions spanning 12 games or less, however, are heard by Stern himself, giving Smith little hope that his penalty will be reduced.

Jared Jefferies and Carmelo Anthony
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IICarmelo Anthony now leads the league in scoring and games suspended this season.

For each game they miss, Anthony and Smith are docked $42,673 and $12,614, respectively. That amounts to nearly $641,000 for Anthony and just over $126,000 for Smith.

Calvin Andrews, Anthony's primary agent with BDA Sports, said earlier this week that it would be Anthony's call whether to proceed with an appeal, even though Players Association chief Billy Hunter has expressed confidence that he could get the ban reduced, as seen after the Indiana-Detroit melee when an arbitrator sliced the suspension of Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal from 25 games to 15.

"Melo's first mind is to say: 'Hey, that's the punishment and I'm willing to take it. Let's move on,' " Andrews said. "If you go back into the history of people of punching people, no one's got 15 games. So if you look at precedent, yeah, it's excessive. If you look at the situation in the post-Detroit Era, I could see why it happened. That doesn't mean you've got to like [the suspension]."

Anthony was contrite Tuesday when he discussed the suspension with Denver reporters for the first time.

"I think it's embarrassing," Anthony said. "I was doing good out there. For a situation like that to happen in the heat of the moment ... [you're] doing so good one second and then the next second you're back down to the bottom. I've got to live with it. I live and learn from my mistakes."

Anthony was referring to a strong 2006 in which he was largely celebrated for his strong summer performance with Team USA, a new level of production for the Nuggets and, most recently, his donation of $1.5 million for a youth center in his home town of Baltimore.

Smith has said he feels responsible for Anthony's suspension. New York's Mardy Collins chopped down a driving Smith late in the Nuggets' 123-100 victory, leading to a scuffle between Smith and New York's Nate Robinson that dropped both players into a baseline section of fans and culminating with Anthony punching Collins. Robinson and Collins were hit with suspensions of 10 and six games.

"I feel embarrassed for myself, my team [and] Carmelo especially, because I think I really put him in a situation where he has to miss 15 games," Smith said. "Most of all, I'm upset about my family. I know they're embarrassed from my incident. They were sitting in the front row [at the game]. I wish it never happened."

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics