Carmelo Anthony says Kobe Bryant helped him stay positive during trade uncertainty
Seeing the scrum of reporters and camera crews surrounding the designated interview table, Denver forward Carmelo Anthony preempted the question everyone wanted ask: Will he stay with the Nuggets or not?
"I don't know anything," he said with a smile.
Anthony then spent the next 20 minutes explaining various uncertainties: whether he'll sign a three-year, $65-million extension with the Denver Nuggets before the Feb. 24 deadline or whether he'd accept an offer from the New Jersey Nets or New York Knicks. He clarified a few things: He said he hasn't met with the Nets; the uncertain future hasn't affected the Nuggets' on-court play or his teammates; and he hasn't discussed the future with Denver's front office since December. And he avoided questions, such as whether the Nuggets want him to stay, what acquisition Denver could make to have him sign the extension and where he prefers to play.
Very much of this is of little interest to Laker fans, especially after the team debunked any conception the Lakers would trade Andrew Bynum for Anthony. But here's one nugget Melo shared about Kobe Bryant: "He never texted me and told me to come to L.A."
"Me and Kobe have a lot of dialogue and a lot of conversations," Anthony said. "It's been good. He's one of the guys who's been keeping me afloat during the situation and keeping me positive with this whole decision. But I really can't discuss what me and him talk about and what me and LeBron talk about or anything like that."
It's telling considering Anthony's acknowledgment that he and Bryant have sent texts to each other frequently through this whole process. Bryant was in Anthony's position in 2007 when he demanded the Lakers trade him amid frustration over the team's missed playoff appearance in 2005 and first-round exits in 2006 and 2007 as well as Bryant's belief that the Lakers weren't building enough championship-caliber talent around him. Anthony didn't divulge specifics on what advice Bryant's been sharing with him, but he believes the support has helped him through the process.
"When I talk to him, I just want him to be happy," Bryant said of Anthony. "We don't talk too much about the trade because I'm sure he's talked about it a lot. Every time I speak to him about it, it's always about him making the decision that's best for him. Nobody else."
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony takes questions from the media during Friday's All-Star media session at Staples Center. Credit: John G. Mabanglo / EPA