DENVER (AP) — A four-way deal that would have sent Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey is “dead,” a person with knowledge of the discussions said Tuesday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the trade.
Anthony took the court with his Nuggets teammates on the first day of training camp Tuesday. But his days in Denver could very well be numbered even after the four-team deal that also would have included Charlotte and Utah collapsed.
The Nuggets could still listen to offers.
Anthony said after practice that the basketball court has become his “safe haven,” a place where he doesn’t have to “deal with all the other stuff.”
“Every time I get in the gym my mind just focuses on working out, getting better, not thinking about too much,” Anthony said.
Following the more than two-hour workout, Nuggets coach George Karl gave Anthony an “A” for his effort, saying he thought his star was “very professional, very mature.”
Karl remains hopeful that Anthony will stick around.
Anthony has yet to sign off on a three-year, $65 million extension that’s been on the table since June, leading the Nuggets to explore trade options. The potential deal involving the New Jersey Nets hit a road block over the weekend and then withered Tuesday.
“The perfect storm in my mind is to keep Melo, convince him that this is the best place for him, that this is where he has to win a championship,” Karl said.
Karl made his return to practice Tuesday after missing the end of last season while undergoing treatment for throat and neck cancer. His voice still raspy, Karl carried around a whistle to get the attention of his players. But he only used it in a joking manner.
“It’s fun to be back. It’s fun to get the butterflies,” Karl said. “It’s fun to interact with your basketball family.”
Karl couldn’t chat for long — four minutes at a time tops. With such a veteran team, though, he really didn’t need to do much instructing.
“All he has to do is say it once,” Anthony said, grinning. “He sounds good, he looks good.”
How much longer Karl might be coaching Anthony remains unclear. The two are hoping to get together for a chat sometime this week.
Anthony has one caveat: The conversation must remain on hoops, not hoopla.
“I want to focus on basketball right now,” Anthony said. “If he wants to sit and talk to me about what to do tomorrow at practice or the next day, then we can sit down and talk about that.”
Before leaving the practice court for the weight room, Anthony took off his powder blue jersey that was soaked in sweat.
It was proof of an honest day’s work.
Anthony became almost agitated when asked if he might give anything less than 100 percent considering his uncertainty.
“I love the game too much to disrespect the game like that,” Anthony said. “Anytime I step on the court, I’m going to give it my all, regardless of what’s going on, what’s the situation.”
“This is basketball. I focus on basketball — it’s something I know how to do and I love to do. As far as my effort on the court, nobody can question that.”
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)