Carmelo Anthony Not Losing Sleep Over Uncertain Future
Before Tuesday's game against New York, Anthony's Denver teammate, Al Harrington, said he would have difficulty with that task if he had an unsigned three-year, big-money contract extension sitting around.
"I personally couldn't sleep with $65 million sitting on the table,'' Harrington said.
So that naturally begged the question: how are you sleeping these days, Melo?
"I'm good,'' Anthony said. "I'm sleeping good at night. With my family, I sleep good at night. It ain't about the money.''
OK, then what is it about?
After Anthony totaled 26 points and nine rebounds in a 120-118 win over the Pepsi Center, he had yet another chance to explain what he is thinking and why he hasn't signed the three-year extension. A captive audience of 20 or so reporters was hanging on every word as Anthony had just faced the team many believe he wants eventually to join.
"What would it take?'' Anthony said, repeating the question about signing it. "Me and Masai (Ujiri, Denver's executive vice president of basketball operations) talking. We got great conversations, going back and forth. He understands just like I tell you guys, my options are open. He understands that, but for the most part me and him have great dialogue going.''
But Anthony still wouldn't reveal what that dialogue is about, saying, "That's between me and Masai.'' He did say one important criteria to where he lands is to make comfortable his family, which includes wife La La Vazquez, a television personality, and son Kiyan, 4.
There was much buildup for the game considering Anthony, who can opt out of his contract next summer, could join the Knicks as a free agent. Or he could force the hands of the Nuggets to deal him to New York before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
Before Tuesday's game, Anthony's buddy, New York forward Amar'e Stoudemire, didn't hold back much when he talked of his desire to one day play with Anthony.
"We'd all love Carmelo here,'' Stoudemire said. "We understand what type of player he is and how he may help the team.''
With that going on, you'd think there would be some recruiting going at the free-throw line. You'd think a few Knicks might have whispered to Melo, "Hey, man, even though you're sleeping well, come to the city that never sleeps.''
But, no, Stoudemire and Anthony denied there was any such talk during the game.
"I never thought about that (Tuesday night),'' Anthony said of the possibility he eventually could be playing for the Knicks. "Never. Not once. Never. That wasn't even on my mind.''
Anthony displayed some humor when a reporter asked him if Tuesday might have been the last time he played against the Knicks.
"Huh?'' Anthony said. "We play them next month (Dec. 12). So I'll see them in the Garden.''
At least Anthony is bringing far more levity to his situation than LeBron James did last year, when he played out the season with Cleveland and eventually signed with Miami. And we've all seen how James' popularity has fallen off.
"I see the backlash that he went through,'' Anthony said. "It's unfortunate. But ... I'm pretty sure he's content with the decision. ... Me personally I wouldn't want to go through (what James did) because I've been through a lot of backlash throughout my career. I wouldn't want to go through that. But you can't please everybody.''
Anthony's journey does not yet have an end. But Harrington does see a big similarity between what James went though last year and what's going on this season with Anthony.
"To me, it's not really a difference,'' Harrington said. "They both have their teams kind of in a tight spot not knowing what they're going to do.''
Harrington was with a Knicks team last season that carved out cap room to try to land James. Now, he's with a Denver outfit trying to do everything it can to keep Anthony.
But Nuggets coach George Karl, the eternal optimist, maintains confidence Anthony will stay.
"My job has been pretty simple from the beginning,'' Karl said. "Convince him this where he should stay and this is where he can have his best team. It's a great city to live in. We've had good success in the past. ... I'm confident the window of (Anthony staying) is still there. I don't know how wide the window is. It's something that only Melo can answer. My gut feeling is that window is open, and it's not shut yet.''
Anthony confirms the window is open for a Denver return. But he's giving no measurements.
Anthony remained tight-lipped about whether he would even consider signing with New York as a free agent next summer. He shrugged off Stoudemire's recruiting pitch by saying, "Amar'e is crazy.''
There was a much-publicized toast from New Orleans guard Chris Paul at Anthony's wedding last July in which Paul expressed hope he and Anthony one day would join Stoudemire on the Knicks.
Anthony last week told FanHouse the toast was players joking around in light of Miami last summer forming its superteam of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Anthony said Tuesday talk of alliances between stars really got going at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
"We always joked about that, especially on the 2008 team,'' Anthony said. "On the bus to and from practice, we always joked about playing with each other. If we could, we would have had all 12 guys on one team from that Olympic team. We always joked about that, but it was nothing more than that. I think Miami and LeBron and them took it a different level and they followed through with it.''
Anthony is determined to throw some joking into all the drama about where he might play next season. At the same time, he's also not planning on losing any sleep.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson