Chauncey Billups is a modest fellow. But he couldn't deny Tuesday that the Nuggets assuring his contract will be fully guaranteed for 2011-12 would aid the chances of Anthony signing a contract extension to remain with the team.
"I'm sure that would help,'' the Denver guard said in an interview with FanHouse.
Billups, as chronicled by FanHouse in June, is under contract next season for $13.15 million and is due to make $14.2 million in 2011-12, the final year of his deal. But the Nuggets would be on the hook for only $3.7 million of that final season if they waive him by June 20, 2011, a potential savings of $10.5 million.
That deadline is 10 days before the final day Anthony, who has a three-year, $64.7 million extension on the table, can decide whether to opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer. June 30, 2011 also is the final day he could sign the extension that would cancel his option year for 2011-12 and put him under contract with the Nuggets through 2014-15.
"Absolutely,'' Billups, 33, Team USA's oldest player, said after a practice at John Jay College as the Americans prepare for the World Championship later this month in Turkey. "You know I don't want to go nowhere. ... I'm pretty sure he wants to play with me. He's expressed that he wants to play with me, at least as long as I can go.''
Billups said he talked to Anthony recently but didn't want to divulge much about what he said about possibly signing the extension. Billups did say he remains optimistic Anthony will sign it.
"He's doing good,'' Billups said of Anthony, who did not return a message Tuesday. "I'm not going to share what me and him talked about. Our conversation was between us. But hopefully everything works out (with the extension). ... I'm still optimistic, yeah.''
Billups said he's not worried that last week's Denver front-office shakeup might hamper the chances of Anthony re-signing. The Nuggets elected not to renew the contracts of executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman, who both had deals ending Aug. 31 and are now gone from the team.
"I'm not concerned with it,'' Billups said. "Anything (the Nuggets) do, they're going to have to be thinking about what's going to be best and how they're going to be able to keep Melo. So I'm sure that all of that is going to factor right into it.''
Billups expressed some shock at the Nuggets not retaining Warkentien and Chapman.
"I was a little surprised by it, but, obviously, I knew they were both in contract situations,'' said Billups, who has spoken to both Warkentien and Chapman and wished them the best. "They're both going to be fine. Obviously, their records and resumes speak for themselves.''
Sources spoke Tuesday of four candidates having emerged as expected finalists for at least one Denver front-office hire. They are former Phoenix executive David Griffin, Atlanta assistant general manager David Pendergraft, Washington vice president of basketball administration Tommy Sheppard and Toronto assistant general manager Masai Ujiri.
"He knows the community,'' Billups said of Sheppard, a Nuggets public relations official when Billups had his first stint with the team, from 1998-2000. "He knows the dynamics of Denver. He's got a lot of experience, of course, being with Washington and even when he was in Denver. So I'm sure he would (be a strong candidate). But I'm sure they're putting some great candidates in place.''
For now, handling Denver's personnel moves are Josh Kroenke, vice president of team development and son of owner Stan Kroenke, team adviser Bret Bearup and coach George Karl, who missed the final 1 1/2 months of last season due to a form of throat cancer.
Karl is primed to return next season, when the Nuggets, with all their top players returning, hope again to have one of the West's top teams. But whether Anthony and Billups are back for 2011-12 remains to be seen.
There doesn't seem to be a high probability the Nuggets won't retain the popular Billups, a Denver native, for 2011-12. But nothing is a guarantee considering he will be 35 that season, the Nuggets often have been conscious of their bloating payroll, and a possible lockout next summer only adds to concerns about finances.
For now, Billups has no problem letting it be known that keeping him could help the Nuggets retain Anthony.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson.