Coy Carmelo could wind up in N.Y.
New York remains a possible destination for Anthony, a Bernard King fan growing up
DENVER -- Carmelo Anthony didn't push the needle very far, but he moved it a wee bit with these statements:
"It ain't about the money."
"You can't please everybody."
"I'm a big fan of Bernard King. That's my idol. That's my favorite basketball player."
And then came the statement that perhaps carried the most weight, the one he closed his postgame press conference with following Denver's 120-118 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night:
"I want to make my family comfortable, whether it's here or somewhere else. If your household ain't right, then ain't nothing right."[+] EnlargeDick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images"I'm a big fan of Bernard King. That's my idol. That's my favorite basketball player," Carmelo Anthony said after Tuesday's defeat of the Knicks.
Anthony gave no further details indicating whether all was right, wrong or somewhere in between in his household, other than to say he had no trouble sleeping at night despite having an unsigned $65 million contract extension sitting there awaiting his signature -- something teammate and ex-Knick Al Harrington said he could never do.
And as to whether a signature might be forthcoming anytime soon, Anthony was coy.
"What would it take? Me and [Nuggets general manager] Masai [Ujiri] are talking. We have great conversations going back and forth. He understands my options are open, but for the most part we have a good dialogue going."
That's about as far as Anthony would go in discussing his future and what it might hold, though he did say he expected to still be in a Nuggets uniform next month when Denver travels to New York to play a Knicks team that lost its sixth straight game Tuesday despite fighting back from an 18-point deficit and tying the game in the fourth quarter.
The loss dropped New York's record to 3-8 as the Knicks made their first stop on a four-game Western swing, their season already starting to resemble so many of the recent seasons that have passed with the Knicks ending up as little more than an afterthought, or the butt of a joke, in the collective consciousness of New York sports fans.
For nearly two full years, right up until the first few days of July, those fans, along with the folks running the organization, hoped that LeBron James would choose New York.
Now, with one superstar on board in Amare Stoudemire and enough salary-cap flexibility to go after a second max-level player, those hopes have been transferred to the notion of acquiring Anthony -- either through a trade sometime between now and February, or next summer as an unrestricted free agent if that's the road Anthony chooses to go down.
His message to New Yorkers was devoid of substance: "I can't really say nothing to them. I've got to focus on what's going on here in Denver right now. For me to send a message to the fans in New York, I can't do that."
"I see the backlash he went through and he's going through right now. It's unfortunate," Anthony said. "But as far as him, I'm sure he's content with the decision that he made. Me knowing him the way I know him, I don't think he has any regrets with the decision he made. As long as he's happy and his family is happy, then that's all that matters for him.
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"Me personally, I wouldn't want to go through it. I've been through enough backlashes through my career, so I wouldn't want to go through that. But you can't please everybody."
Anthony waited more than an hour after the game ended to give his quasi-update on where he stands, and it was impossible to walk away without thinking that he has a pretty good idea where all this is heading -- though he is not 100 percent positive which direction that will be.
It is the worst-kept secret in the league that the Knicks and Nuggets have been discussing a variety of deals centered around Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry's expiring contract and various other moving parts. One piece that may have entered the equation is Knicks rookie Landry Fields, who was a bundle of energy throughout the game in scoring 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting and grabbing 17 rebounds.
Stoudemire had 24 points and nailed a late 3-pointer that gave the Knicks one final chance, but Fields' inbounds pass to Raymond Felton coming out of a timeout with 12.5 seconds remaining was fumbled out of bounds, and New York's chance to snap that five-game slide was gone in an eyeblink.
Wilson Chandler again thrived off the bench with 23 points, Gallinari recovered from an 0-for-6 start to score 21 points with 10 rebounds, and Felton contributed 19 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in what truly was a gallant comeback effort. "They got some things to do, they got some things to work on," Anthony said, claiming he never once during the game thought about the possibility of someday playing for New York. "They just look like they're trying to figure out their team."
That figuring will continue up until the moment when Anthony's future is known, whether that's next month, the month after, next February, or next summer.
But before calling it a night, Anthony did touch on King -- the most popular Knick from the 1980s, back when Anthony was still wearing diapers.
"My first couple years coming into the league, I watched him all the time. Watching his film and my film, there's some type of resemblance," Anthony said. "I was born in New York, so I had family that was into what was going on with the Knicks, and a lot of people loved Bernard King so it caught my eye. Then, growing up, a lot of people started saying you remind me of Bernard King, and I started taking heed of that and watching more film as I got into the game more."
Whether Anthony ever gets to wear the same uniform that King wore remains an unknown.
But as Melo said: "You can't please everybody."
And at some point in the near future (Stoudemire actually used those exact words -- "near future" -- at the Knicks' morning shootaround), we'll have an answer as to where Anthony's future lies.
But by the end of Tuesday night, one thing remained as clear as it has been throughout training camp and the first three weeks of the regular season: New York could very well be that place.
Chris Sheridan is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.
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