As rumors circulate, Anthony offers no clues
LOS ANGELES — The Knicks and Nets say they are close to acquiring perennial All-Star Carmelo Anthony. Anthony maintains he has no idea about his immediate future, even as rumors circulate that the Nuggets have finally agreed to move him.
Nothing was certain as of late last night. After a report in the Record of Bergen County (N.J.) indicated the Nuggets had agreed to a complicated package to send Anthony to New Jersey, contingent on him signing a contract extension, Anthony told reporters at the All-Star media session he had yet to hear from the Nuggets about any deal.
Nor did he have meetings scheduled with Knicks owner James Dolan or Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, adding to this confounding story that has dominated NBA headlines.
Anthony showed up to the media availability session looking as if he had few worries.
“I have said that since Day 1, that it’s an option to sign in Denver,’’ he said. “I can’t sit there and say I want to go here or I want to go there.’’
NBA sources said the Knicks and Nets are looking to meet with Anthony but he has been reluctant. The sticky part is that Anthony has an opt-out clause after the season that would make him a free agent.
There is also an expiring collective bargaining agreement, clouding the negotiations because a new CBA could roll back and reduce salaries. The Nuggets have offered Anthony a three-year, $65 million extension, and any club that would trade players and draft picks would want Anthony to sign an extension.
Anthony, through friends and his agent, has made it apparent he would like to continue his career in the New York area, preferably with the Knicks. The Nets backed out of negotiations with the Nuggets a month ago, only to renew talks last week.
“I mean, obviously just because I said I love New York, I love the city of New York and New Jersey, I don’t think that they are the only two teams that I can sit here and say I definitely want to be on those teams and nobody else,’’ he said. “Like I said, the Nuggets have to weigh their options. If it’s a deal with somebody else that’s legit, we all have to talk about it. But time is ticking, man, and time is money.’’
A few hours later, the NBA Players Association held a news conference to detail talks with the owners. It appears to have been amicable, but they are far apart. The players expressed confusion about the owners’ demands, which would include non-guaranteed salaries.
“We’re not submitting another proposal,’’ Players Association president Billy Hunter said. “They have not deemed it necessary to respond, soft of a response without responding.’’
A few months ago, Hunter said he was 99 percent sure there would be a lockout. He backed off yesterday.
“That was my opinion up until today,’’ Hunter said. “In the room, that comment was made about, ‘this is our position and we intend to maintain.’ As time went on [in our meeting] it kind of softened, their stance, the manner in which [a lockout] was said earlier. You look for light or ray of hope wherever you can find it, so you kind of zone in on something significant that was said.’’
Anthony could be the first major superstar to sign under a new agreement. If no agreement is reached this summer, the owners have threatened to lock out the players, reminiscent of the 1998-1999 lockout that wiped out 32 regular-season games.
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen with the lockout,’’ Anthony said. “If I was to sit here and say I’m not thinking about that, I would be lying to you guys. I don’t want to go into no lockout. I don’t think none of the players want to go into a lockout, so I hope that we can just come to an agreement.’’