Carmelo Anthony Takes Hat Off 'to Myself' for Strong Play Despite Distractions
DENVER -- Carmelo Anthony congratulated himself Saturday.
Then again, anybody who has averaged 40.3 points in his past three games would seem to have that right.
"I think it takes a strong-willed person, a strong-minded person, to deal with the stuff that I deal with and still go out there and go to work every day and perform on a nightly basis,'' the Denver forward said about trade rumors that have swirled all season as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. "I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that's going on and still be able to go out there and play at the high level that I can play at. I really don't think an average person can walk in my shoes. I don't think that.''
Anthony, who wasn't actually wearing a hat during the interview that he could take off, sure hasn't been average lately on the court. Earlier this week, he tied his career high with 50 points against Houston and had 42 against Dallas, the latter being in a dramatic 121-120 Nuggets victory that stopped a 10-game Mavericks winning streak.
Since Jan. 31 at New Jersey, Anthony is averaging 33.4 points in seven games. That would be his post-fast scoring average.
Anthony revealed Saturday he did the Daniel Fast between Jan. 9-30. He said he initially was sluggish on the court but he credits the fast now for his recent surge. If you're keep track at home, his scoring average during his fasting days was 21.8.
"I just feel healthy,'' said Anthony, who dubbed this the hottest offensive stretch of his eight-year NBA career. "That's the No. 1 thing. My legs feel good. My body feels good and I'm starting to make shots. ... That fast that I did was really helpful and the timing that I did it, starting beginning Jan. 9 and ending Jan. 30.
"During that time, I felt sluggish. I wasn't eating that much. I wasn't getting the right foods in my system. And then after that I really started feeling real good about myself. My health started feeling good. My legs started feeling better. I guess they say you got to lose some things to gain some things.''
Anthony said he didn't follow the full rules of the Daniel Fast, which would have required a four-day stretch in which he didn't eat at all. But he found it tough enough.
"I didn't eat no meats, no bread, no sweets for 21 days, no soda,'' he said. "I almost killed myself. But now I guess I've paid the cost for it. I feel great ... I don't drink soda no more. After that, I still don't eat meat that much. No breads. I feel good, tough ... (During the fast), I was drinking Naked Juices, a lot of protein shakes, salads, fruits. That was it, man. A lot of veggies.''
Anthony said he lost some weight. He doesn't know how much since he doesn't want to step on a scale and find out.
Anthony also claims to have had an awakening during his fast.
"It was mental,'' Anthony said. "It was spiritual. It was emotional, man. And during that whole time it was a lot of prayer with myself. And just taking some time out and just getting some clarity on things with myself for my career, with my life, and it really helped me. I started seeing things a lot more clearer from every aspect of my life.''
If Anthony is praying that something specific happens by the trade deadline, he didn't reveal what. He could be shipped to New York, his believed preference, by the trade deadline, although no deal now appears imminent.
With the Nuggets continuing to exercise patience and having left Saturday on a key three-game trip before next weekend's All-Star break, the odds of Anthony being dealt prior to the Feb. 20 All-Star Game are not high. Anthony is on the trading block due to not having signed a three-year, $64.47 million extension that has been on the table since last June and being able to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer.
"I don't really think we can go through that mentally about the what ifs,'' Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo, who hit a 19-foot jumper at the buzzer to beat Dallas on Thursday, said of the trade rumors. "We have to deal with what is. The fact of the matter for another week and a half (until the trade deadline), it is what it's going to be. Until something's definite, we just have to compete to win.''
Anthony on Saturday shrugged off comments he made to reporters last Wednesday after a shootaround at Golden State that he would "take a real hard look'' at signing the extension with the Nuggets if he's still with them past the trade deadline.
"That's just part of keeping my options open,'' Anthony said. "That's the same thing I've been saying since the beginning of the year. It just so happens that I said I would keep this option open as well. Nothing has changed.''
Indeed Anthony has discussed before possibly signing the extension with the Nuggets although that was the first time he's addressed it in a few months. Anthony talked with FanHouse about it last October and reiterated in November the possibility of re-signing with Nuggets, saying, "Sure, why not? I don't see why not.''
Anthony on Saturday again stressed he's got nothing against Denver, where he's played his entire career since being taken with the No. 3 pick in the 2003 draft. With all the rumors swirling, Anthony was asked what he believes was the most ridiculous one he's seen.
"That I hate Denver,'' Anthony said. "I laughed at that.''
Most of the time, though, Anthony claims to have not paid attention to the rumors. He reiterated what he said last month about trying to stay away from watching television.
"I pay attention to it sometimes,'' Anthony said of trade rumors. "But I haven't really been reading the articles this whole year, man. It's been tough for me to read the articles and paying attention to what's really going on. It's hard for me to watch TV. It's hard. I got to just watch movies. I know my iTunes bill is probably outrageous right now.''
Of course, Anthony has had other things lately to occupy his time. That includes watching his diet and tipping his hat to himself.