Carmelo Anthony nixes Knicks, Nets talk
NEWARK, N.J. -- In the arena he could have called his temporary home, Carmelo Anthony added another layer of intrigue to the ongoing MeloDrama by saying he never received a text message from Amare Stoudemire telling him he wants Anthony to play alongside him in New York.
"I've read that, that he supposedly texted me," Anthony said after scoring 37 points in a 115-99 loss to the New Jersey Nets. "I didn't get it. I didn't get that text."
I didn't get [a message from Amare Stoudemire]. I didn't get that text.” -- Carmelo Anthony
Anthony's comment refuted a report by Yahoo! Sports from mid-January that the Knicks All-Star forward had reached out to Anthony via text message after hearing Anthony express doubts that the Knicks even wanted him. But Anthony limited his comments Monday night to whether a text message was sent and/or received, and he did not address whether he had spoken with any members of the Knicks.
New York has continued to pursue a trade for Anthony, knowing they are Anthony's preferred destination, but neither Anthony nor Denver coach George Karl would assign a probability percentage regarding where they expect the four-time All-Star to be playing on Feb. 25 -- the day after the NBA trade deadline.
Monday night's loss ended a 3-2 Eastern road swing for the Nuggets, dropping their record to 28-20. They remain in playoff position in the Western Conference, and both Anthony and coach George Karl spoke of the possibility that Anthony may end up finishing the season in Denver before re-assessing his options.
"I have always felt from the way beginning of the season that the chance of that happening was far greater than all you all thought -- of being with our team the whole year," Karl said. "I just felt that way from the first day of training camp, from September, I've always felt that way. I'm trying to be prepared for anything, but if that happens we can get excited about being a very, very good team.
I have always felt from the way beginning of the season that the chance of that happening was far greater than all you all thought -- of [Anthony] being with our team the whole year.” -- George Karl
Asked why he believes an Anthony trade is not a fait accompli, Karl responded: "Just my experiences in the NBA. Making a big trade in the middle of the season is not an easy thing to do."
Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri and vice team president John Kroenke attended Monday night's game, but Anthony said he hadn't spoken to either of them in recent days about new developments.
Anthony all but closed the door on the possibility of being dealt to the New Jersey Nets, saying Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov seemed genuine when he pulled the Nets out of the bidding nearly two weeks ago, bringing an abrupt halt to multi-team trade talks that had been ongoing since the beginning of training camp.
"Prokhorov took a load off a lot of guys on the Nets and the Nuggets, and now guys can just go out there and play and see what's the next steps from here," Anthony said. "He took a real strong stance by holding that press conference straight off the plane. Obviously, he felt strongly that this wasn't going to happen."
One of the suspected reasons for the end of trade talks with the Nets was Anthony's supposed disinterest in meeting with New Jersey's brass, a rumor refuted by Anthony on Monday.
"I would take that meeting. As far as anything else, I really can't speak on that," Anthony said while remaining non-commital about his desire to sign an extension with Denver before playing for the Nets.
"I really don't know where that came from, as far as if I was to come here the extension wasn't going to be signed. I really don't know who started that," Anthony said. "There's a lot of things that are being said out there that I don't know where they came from. Sources, I guess. As far as the extension, if that trade were to go through, who knows what would've happened. I can't really answer that."
Asked what he believes the next step may be, Anthony pleaded ignorance.
If I sit here and say I'm willing to lose 15 or 20 million dollars, I'd be lying to you. But at the same time this has never been about money. ... Now I'm focused on trying to win a championship.” -- Carmelo Anthony
The Nuggets have been exploring trade options because they fear losing Anthony with nothing in return if he opts out of his contract after this season and becomes an unrestricted free agent. But nobody in the NBA knows what the free agency rules will be when a new collective bargaining agreement is in place, and Anthony could be risking several million dollars if he indeed opts out of the $18 million he is due to receive next year and refuses to sign the nearly $65 million, three-year extension that would keep him under contract through the 2014-15 season.
"The CBA is in the back of my mind, but as far as being a free agent to play this out, if that's what it's going to take, then so be it. I'm with that," Anthony said. "If it's playing this year out and then going back to the drawing table, sitting down with Denver and trying to figure it out, or if I basically move on, I'm willing to do that.
"If I sit here and say I'm willing to lose 15 or 20 million dollars, I'd be lying to you," Anthony said. "But at the same time this has never been about money. In my career so far I think I've made enough money. Now I'm focused on trying to win a championship. That's the only thing that's on my plate and on my mind right now."
The Nets did have one surprise awaiting Anthony when Denver's team bus arrived.
Placed strategically along the hallway leading to the visiting locker room, and again in the hallway leading from the locker room to the court, were poster-sized artists' renditions of what the Nets' new arena in Brooklyn will look like when completed, plus one photo showing the construction progress made thus far.
"That was interesting," Anthony said. "That was interesting."
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.