SAN FRANCISCO – With two weeks left before the NBA's trade deadline, Carmelo Anthony(notes) said he's begun to "take a real hard look" at signing a contract extension with the Denver Nuggets if he's not dealt to another team.
Whether Anthony is seriously contemplating staying with the Nuggets or merely trying to prod the New York Knicks into acquiring him before the deadline remains to be seen. Anthony's representatives have tried to push the Nuggets to trade him – preferably to the Knicks – since he turned down the team's three-year, $64 million extension offer over the summer. League sources said the Knicks have had trade conversations with the Nuggets but have yet to propose an overwhelming offer in part because they think Anthony will opt out of his contract this summer and sign with them regardless – and at a smaller cost once the league's new collective-bargaining agreement is negotiated.
If the Nuggets don't trade Anthony before the Feb. 24 deadline, they could wait until after the season and try to deal him before July 1. Or the Nuggets could hope he signs an extension with them rather than risk losing millions under a new CBA.
"It's something that I would take a real hard look at and make my decision," Anthony said. "As the days go on, that's something that I think about, that nothing might not happen and that I'll be here whether I have to deal with the free-agency market or re-sign the extension here with the Nuggets."
The Nuggets entered Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors in seventh place in the Western Conference. Anthony has said for months that he's concerned about the future of the franchise, and it's perhaps telling that he reiterated those worries on Wednesday – even while he also said he'd now consider signing an extension with the Nuggets. Nuggets coach George Karl is in negotiations for a contract extension past this season, but has yet to sign one. Chauncey Billups(notes) could become a free agent if the Nuggets buy out his contract. Nene could opt out of his deal after this season and told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday that he has not been offered an extension by the Nuggets. J.R. Smith(notes), Kenyon Martin(notes) and Arron Afflalo(notes) also will become free agents after the season.
"I'd have to really know and understand what the future holds," Anthony said. "I'm hearing things about what direction they want to go in, they want to get younger and things like that. Though I'm 26, this is my eighth [NBA] season. I'm not getting younger as far as the years go.
"Before you know it, I'll be in my 10th, 11th season already. That's something that I really got to take a look at."
Anthony now has an offseason home in Los Angeles and – along with his wife, La La – seems intrigued about the possibility of playing in a major market. Both were born in New York.
Anthony, however, gets frustrated when it's suggested he's tired of Denver.
"That's a misconception," he said. "I think a lot of people just look at the moment right now and don't realize all of the other years that I've put in and all of the stuff that I've done, not just for the organization, but for the city of Denver. And not just basketball, but off the court, too. I think a lot of people just look past that.
"I think a lot of people hear I have to take care of my family and I have to talk to my family. It's just, 'Tell your wife you want to do this.' People don't really understand what comes into play with that. And then the business of basketball, I think the average fan doesn't understand the business of basketball. They just see a guy out there scoring 30 points a night, and that's what they're losing. And if they hear, 'I'm keeping my options open,' then I hate Denver all of a sudden."
Anthony laughed at a report Tuesday that said the Los Angeles Lakers were considering trading Andrew Bynum(notes) for him. The Lakers quickly denied they would make such a move and Anthony said he didn't bother calling Kobe Bryant(notes) about it. He expects the attention he'll receive during next week's All-Star events in L.A. to be a "zoo."
"I get messages, I see stuff on Facebook and Twitter," he said. "It's like, 'Melo will you just make a decision already?' And I'm like, 'Call the front office and talk to them people.'
"Everybody has their own perception of this whole 'Melo-drama thing. Now people are saying at the end I'll be in L.A., people are saying I'll be in Dallas, people say I'll be in New York, people say I'll be in Jersey. Every week is a new team."
And the chance that his new team will be his same team? The Nuggets?
"I think about it more so now," he said, "because it is getting close to that time."