Carmelo Anthony Could Wait a Year Before Making Extension Decision
While there is a general belief Anthony will decide this summer whether to sign a possible contract extension with Denver, the star forward told FanHouse on Sunday night he might wait until after next season starts or possibly even wait more than a year before making that decision. Anthony, who can opt out of 2011-12, the final year of his contract, by June 30, 2011, also can sign an extension with the Nuggets up until that date.
By waiting, Anthony's thinking would be to see how the Nuggets might look next season after a disappointing campaign in which they were upset 4-2 by Utah in the first round.
"Yeah,'' Anthony, who attended Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Boston at the Staples Center, said of the possibility he might wait on signing a possible extension into next season or after it. "I'm not going to rush into anything. ... That's always an option. ... I definitely don't have to do it this summer.''
Anthony became eligible for a three-year extension on July 12, 2009, the three-year anniversary of when he had signed a five-year, $79 million extension that began in 2007-08. He said no offer has come yet from the Nuggets, and that the sides haven't talked about anything in that regard. But Anthony, earning a maximum contract now, did indicate the Nuggets would need to offer him maximum dollars for him to sign.
"I would hope so,'' said Anthony, who is working out in the Los Angeles area this summer and had expected to attend Sunday's game with Cleveland star LeBron James until he said James pulled out at the last instant because he had to do something "important.'' "I would hope so.''
When he became eligible for the extension last summer, Anthony said he expected the Nuggets would wait until this summer before offering it. Asked last July about his future in Denver, Anthony said, "I want to stay here long-term.''
But the Nuggets then were coming off a Western Conference finals appearance against the Lakers, and this season looked bright. But the campaign was hampered by Nuggets coach George Karl missing the last 1 ½ months while battling a form of throat cancer and by forward Kenyon Martin having knee problems.
Karl has no doubts about being back next season to fulfill the final year of his contract. But Anthony said he might want to see what type of moves the Nuggets make and how they might pan out before deciding whether to lock himself up long-term. If he signed a three-year extension off his existing contract, which means he wouldn't opt out, the deal would take him through 2014-15.
"That's always a factor, whether it's a team that I can win with and we can together,'' said Anthony, who left Sunday's game just after halftime because he found it so tough to watch a Finals game and not play. "But I think (Nuggets management is) smart. They are smart. They saw what happened (this season). I'm pretty sure they want to win just like I want to win. ... Hopefully, we can add a couple of more months (of playing to next season).''
Anthony said Denver doesn't need to blow anything up but does need to add one or two more pieces. The general consensus is the undersized Nuggets need a big man.
With some uncertainty hanging over the Nuggets, Anthony was not as definitive as he had been last summer about wanting to stay long-term with the team. But by no means does he have one foot out the door.
"Of course, if somebody's offering you an extension and I've been most loyal to Denver since I've gotten there,'' Anthony, a Denver rookie in 2003-04, said of certainly considering signing an extension. "But right now I've got to think about my family and me. (Anthony wants to win) the championship. ... It's open for me right now (whether he might sign an extension this summer or at any time). It's up in the air. I haven't made any decisions as far as an extension or anything else.''
There's something else to think about as well for Anthony, who will make $17.15 million next season and would earn $18.52 million in 2011-12 if he doesn't opt out. If he were to sign a maximum extension by the June 30, 2011 deadline, Anthony knows he would have three years of making $20-plus million in a season. But, if Anthony were to opt out of his contract and become a free agent in the summer of 2011, he would be under a new collective bargaining agreement. And NBA owners are trying to cut big salaries.
"That's a factor. It's a big factor,'' Anthony, who noted it's too early to speculate on the chances he might opt out, said of a new collective bargaining agreement being in place if he were to become a free agent in either 2011 or 2012. "There's a lot of stuff that's going to come into play in my position.''
For now, Anthony is taking a wait-and-see attitude. He first must wait for any extension to be offered.
"I haven't talked to anybody since the last game (April 30),'' said Anthony, who said no talks have even been scheduled yet with Nuggets management. "They haven't offered yet.''
Also up in the air is whether Anthony will play this summer for Team USA in the World Championships in Turkey. After having given his commitment to USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo to play last fall, Anthony told FanHouse in April he might not play due to getting married July 10 to MTV personality La La Vazquez.
"I haven't really made a decision,'' Anthony said Sunday. "It's 50-50. In a couple of weeks (Anthony will decide).''
By then, the NBA free agency period, which officially starts July 1, will really be heating up. Anthony was asked if he doesn't mind not being part of this summer's class, which could include James, Miami's Dwyane Wade and Toronto's Chris Bosh, who also attended Sunday's game.
"I like any chance to watch (the other players go through it),'' said Anthony, who took in Sunday's game in Staples Center tunnel while Bosh sat in the stands. "But in a couple of months it's going to start with me.''
Anthony said he had agreed to sit in courtside seats Sunday with James. But then James pulled out, perhaps because he didn't want to be accused of upstaging the Finals even more.
"LeBron suckered me into it, and he didn't even show,'' Anthony told reporters. "I was already (in Los Angeles) and we were supposed to come together. And he hit me at the last minute that 'I've got something to do that's important.'''
Anthony said he didn't know what James had to do. Without James on hand, Anthony left after halftime.
"This is really tough to watch,'' said Anthony, who had hoped to be in the Finals this month after coming so close last season.
Working out, though, hasn't been tough for Anthony. He said he resumed training two weeks ago, and for the second straight summer has been involved in sessions in the Los Angeles area with Gunnar Peterson, the trainer for the stars. Anthony said he's eating well and he weighs 234 pounds, two less than his playing weight at the end of the season.
Eventually, Anthony might move from a workout room to a negotiating table. But he's willing to wait more than a year on making a contract decision if that's what he deems necessary.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson