Carmelo Anthony(notes) has worn just one team’s uniform since being drafted third overall in 2003. At least for the time being, the three-time All-Star forward continues to don the powder blue and white of the Denver Nuggets.
With trade rumors continuing to swirl, Anthony and the Nuggets will try ignore the distractions Thursday as they go for their 11th straight victory at Pepsi Center in a matchup with the NBA-best San Antonio Spurs.
Since leading Syracuse to a national championship in his one season on campus, Anthony has been the cornerstone of a Nuggets franchise that has advanced to the postseason seven straight years after missing the playoffs in the eight seasons prior to his arrival.
Saying he wanted to keep his options open, Anthony declined a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets in June. It has since been rumored that the Brooklyn-born free agent-to-be wants to go to either the Knicks or Nets.
While Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri said following Tuesday’s 111-94 victory over Orlando that no trades were imminent and Anthony would know if he was getting dealt, rumors continue that Anthony will not be a Nugget when the February trade deadline passes.
Anthony denied a report last week that he had told Denver he would only accept a trade to the Knicks. More speculation surfaced Tuesday after the Nets acquired two more first-round picks in a three-team swap that could be used in a package deal for the Nuggets superstar.
“I’ve got a game here Thursday night against San Antonio and that’s what I’m focused on,” Anthony said Tuesday after scoring 35 points with 11 rebounds. “All that other stuff, I’m not even paying attention to right now.”
Anthony, whose career scoring average against San Antonio (20.2) is his lowest against any team in the Western Conference, can’t afford to get caught up in the rumors given the way the Spurs are playing.
San Antonio (21-3) makes its first of two visits to Denver this season after capping off a 6-0 homestand Wednesday with a 92-90 victory over Milwaukee.
“It was a tough shot,” Ginobili told NBA.com after scoring a team-high 26 points. “He guarded me really well. … I got lucky. I made the shot. We all celebrated.”
The Spurs, who will return home for three games following Thursday’s matchup, are 8-1 on the road, falling 90-85 to the Los Angeles Clippers in their last game away from AT&T Center on Dec. 1.
Denver has a league-best 45 home wins since the beginning of 2009-10 and is on the verge of its first 11-game winning streak at home since a 12-0 stretch March 16-April 19, 2005. However, San Antonio went 2-0 when visiting the Nuggets last season, winning by 19 points each time.
San Antonio hosts Denver next Wednesday.