George Karl: Carmelo Anthony 'Distracted,' Could Affect Playing Time
Denver coach George Karl said his star forward was "very distracted'' during practice Tuesday for one of the few times this season. Karl couldn't say for sure it was due to trade rumors swirling but did say it could affect Anthony's playing time.
"If Melo plays distracted, I can't play him as many minutes,'' Karl, whose Nuggets play host to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, told FanHouse. "I thought he was very distracted (Tuesday)... I don't know (if it's because of trade rumors). I don't have that answer.''
Karl said overall the Nuggets had a very bad practice Tuesday and the team looked distracted, but he was willing to single out Anthony. Karl was asked if Anthony also looked distracted Sunday at San Antonio, when he shot 5 of 17 for 12 points.
"I didn't think we played very well, and I thought he was in that category,'' Karl said.
Until recently, Karl said Anthony seemingly has not let outside influences bother him as his name continues to get thrown around as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches.
"This has definitely not happened very often,'' Karl said of Anthony being distracted. "It's been very few times.''
Karl didn't know if he would talk to Anthony about the situation. Anthony declined an interview request after Tuesday's practice.
There were reports Sunday about the Nuggets having given permission to New Jersey to talk to Anthony about a possible trade, and that such a meeting could occur this week. Karl said there have been conversations with Denver management about the Nets being granted permission to talk to Anthony but he didn't know if it officially has been given.
"We talked about that,'' Karl said. "It's been mentioned that (the Nets) might want to (talk to Anthony). But I don't know the details.''
Nuggets president Josh Kroenke and executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri did not return messages.
Regardless, it might all be a moot point. FanHouse reported Dec. 20 that Anthony, whose preference is to be traded to New York, did not want to go to New Jersey. And there's been no indication he has changed his mind.
Speaking to reporters after the Spurs game, Anthony said he had no interest in a possible meeting with the Nets.
"I don't want to talk to nobody,'' said Anthony, who likely would have to agree to sign a three-year, $64.47 million extension with New Jersey or any possible deal would be dead. "I let the front office handle that type of stuff. It ain't my job to be talking to New Jersey, New York, the Lakers, Dallas, no one. That's not my job to do.''
That echoed what Anthony had said Saturday.
"What am I going to meet with (Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov) for?'' Anthony said.
In that interview, Anthony did not indicate any interest in New Jersey.
"I don't know where all this Nets stuff came from, man,'' Anthony said. "Once the Nets went out there and acquired those five picks (in the first round over the next two years), everybody just put everything together.''
No trade appears imminent. Anthony said Sunday he expects to be with the Nuggets for their games Wednesday against the Thunder, Friday against the Lakers and Sunday against Indiana.
Anthony, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, is on the trading block due to his unwillingness so far to sign a contract extension with Denver. Although the Nets have much better trade assets than the Knicks, the next step for the Nuggets appears to be trying to hammer out a deal with New York.
The Jan. 24 issue of Sports Illustrated will have an article on Anthony that sheds some light on a toast at Anthony's wedding last July by New Orleans guard Chris Paul about Paul and Anthony eventually joining forces in New York with forward Amar'e Stoudemire. SI.com released portions of the article Tuesday.
"If you want any chance against us in Miami, you'd better team up with Stoud in New York,'' Sports Illustrated quotes James as saying to Anthony at his wedding, which came just after James had agreed to go to the Heat to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Sports Illustrated reported Anthony had last August in his hometown of Baltimore issued a trade request to Kroenke to go to either New York or Chicago. Anthony, who can sign an extension until June 30, also told Sports Illustrated he expects to be dealt before the trade deadline and his "goal'' is to sign an extension before July due to fear of an anticipated NBA lockout.
For now, Karl is hoping Anthony will appear less distracted.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson