Carmelo Anthony: 'This Is Not My Last Game' With Nuggets
DENVER -- Carmelo Anthony offered two assurances Tuesday night.
He guaranteed the 132-98 win over Phoenix at the Pepsi Center wasn't his final game in a Denver uniform. And he said one can put in "bold words" that his wife, LaLa Vazquez, isn't playing a significant role in where he soon will be playing.
First, the guarantee.
"This is not my last game,'' Anthony said after scoring 28 points in the rout. "I'll be here playing against Miami Thursday. You all will have another interview with me Thursday. Guaranteed. I guarantee you that.''
Anthony, who has yet to sign a three-year, $64.47 million contract extension and could opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer, could be dealt to New Jersey in a three-team deal that also includes Detroit. However, it's still unclear if Anthony would be willing to sign an extension with the Nets, which is likely the only way they'd make a deal. And many believe his preference is to end up in New York.
Regardless, Anthony said any reports that his wife, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native and television personality, is a driving force behind where he wants to play are incorrect.
"You all put this in bold words, LaLa has nothing to do with anything,'' said Anthony, whose Nuggets (21-16) broke a three-game losing streak Tuesday. "Whatever is my decision, she's going to support me. She has nothing to do with me staying here or me leaving or nothing. So please keep her out of it.
"People, they have to write about something, and for them to just come up with, '(Vazquez) don't want to be (in Denver).' She has nothing to do with that. This is my career. This is my decision. Of course, I got to consult her with everything. But it wasn't one conversation I said where she told me, 'Let's get out of (Denver).'''
Anthony on Monday said it still remains a possibility he could re-sign with Denver. But many believe Anthony still has time before the Feb. 24 trade deadline to force a trade to New York and blow up the proposed deal to New Jersey.
A source had told FanHouse on Dec. 20 that Anthony didn't want to sign an extension with the Nets. Reached Tuesday, the source could not say whether or not Anthony has changed his mind but reiterated that Anthony was sure in the week leading up to Christmas about not wanting to go to New Jersey.
ESPN.com reported Tuesday night that Anthony has not told anyone whether or not he will sign a contract extension with the Nets. The source, identified as someone who speaks regularly to Anthony, was quoted as saying, "He has not agreed to go to New Jersey. I have never heard him, in all the times we've talked, say he's willing to go to New Jersey. Not once. Personally, I would be stunned if he went there and signed an extension."
Anthony, who says publicly he doesn't know if he would agree to a Nets extension, has said he doesn't expect any trade this week. But, with reports of Anthony eventually being dealt running rampant, he's hearing boos at the Pepsi Center.
"It's been the same,'' Anthony said of what it's like walking around Denver. "Only when I step into here in this building, I get booed. I take it for what it is. I don't pay attention to it. They're going to boo. I don't really know if (the fans) know how to feel right now, if they should cheer, if they should boo. I don't take it no kind of way. It's not personal.
"I don't want to make a big deal out of that. People have their right to boo. People have their right to cheer. It doesn't bother me. As long as I go out there and continue being the player I am, doing what I do, the boos, I don't worry about that.''
One of the greatest Nugget players ever doesn't like the booing. Hall of Famer David Thompson, the cousin of Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry, was at Tuesday's game and also will be on hand for Thursday's game against Miami at the Pepsi Center.
"He has to do pretty much what makes him happy,'' Thompson said in an interview with FanHouse about Anthony's future. "He's in that position now where he can play out his contract. He's kind of in the driver's seat. He's done a lot for this organization regardless (of what Anthony ends up doing).
"But I hate to see (the fans) booing him. That's unfortunate. It's not really his fault. He's just exercising his options. Like I said before, he's done a lot for the organization.''
Thompson and Anthony greeted each other in the locker room after Tuesday's game. Thompson told Anthony, "Do what's best for you.''
Thompson wants Anthony to stay in Denver. Thompson, who played with fellow Hall of Famers Alex English and Dan Issel, said the Nuggets can win with Anthony and he doesn't necessarily need a bigger city to get publicity.
"I think they got a real good team if they can keep everybody together,'' said Thompson, who will bring out the ceremonial first ball for Thursday's game, which will be televised nationally on TNT. "They could add some more pieces to the team, if (Anthony) could stay.
"He's already considered one of the top players. He gets enough publicity here. I don't know. I guess your family is from back (East), so you want to get back close to home. I can see that.''
Both Anthony, a Brooklyn native who moved to Baltimore at the age of 7, and Vazquez are from back East. But Anthony insists he'll be the one making any final decision.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson