Carmelo Anthony Reaches Out to Kobe Bryant for Advice
"I said, 'Make sure you're sure about what you want to do,''' Bryant told FanHouse on Thursday before his Lakers were to face Anthony's Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. "That's the only advice I gave him.''
Anthony, who has yet to sign a three-year, $64.47 million contract extension that is on the table, might want to be dealt before the Feb. 24 trade deadline and can opt out of his contract next summer and become a free agent. Bryant had wanted a trade from the Lakers three years ago but the team eventually appeased him by acquiring star forward Pau Gasol and now has won the past two NBA titles.
"He called me up and reached out,'' Bryant said of Anthony, his teammate on the 2008 Olympic team that won gold in Beijing. "We're very close, man. We're very, very close.''
Bryant gave his thoughts on all the rumors about where Anthony might end up.
"I think people are making too big of a deal out of it,'' he said. "It's water under the bridge. (Stuff) happens. He's still here. You got to continue to play. The day he gets traded then it will be a story.''
Bryant offered advice on how Anthony should be treated in Denver.
"He's here,'' Bryant said. "So you better enjoy him while he's here. Show him how much they love you so he can change his mind (about signing the extension).''
At the start of training camp, Nuggets coach George Karl said he might reach out to Lakers coach Phil Jackson for advice considering Jackson dealt with Bryant's situation. Jackson said he saw the quote from Karl but never did hear from him.
"We understand those situations that happen and sometimes it's circumstances beyond our control,'' Jackson said. "You just have to continue to play. And I've been impressed that Carmelo is playing hard and he looks like he's into the game and he's into winning.''
Bryant also touched upon how most of the top players from the 2008 Olympics have committed for the 2012 games. He reiterated his commitment is ironclad and said he couldn't say if that's the case with others from 2008.
"Mine is,'' Bryant said of his being a certain commitment. "I can't speak about anybody else's. We had so much fun in Beijing playing together and competing. I think everybody is excited about it. They really did a great job, from top to bottom, the way they put it together, the coaching staff, practices, everything. It was smooth, man. It was effortless.''
In addition to Bryant, of the top eight scorers from 2008, Anthony, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Willams, also have publicly committed for 2012. Of course, it remains to be seen what NBA team Anthony will be with then.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson