x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Anthony saga at Nuggets nears climax

The next destination of the Nuggets forward should finally become clear.

Carmelo Anthony goes for the basket in New York where he got a warm welcome.
Carmelo Anthony goes for the basket in New York where he got a warm welcome.

Sagas, by definition, are long, winding, unpredictable affairs. They can make for a great read if you have just picked up the latest best-seller.

If "saga" describes a current NBA superstar, however, then the journey tends to be more of a tedious travelogue. As in: someone please wrap up this meandering tale.

The free-agent odyssey involving Carmelo Anthony, the Denver Nuggets' forward, is no less epic simply because he is, well, not yet a free agent.

He can be at the end of the season, which has led to all sorts of manoeuvres.

The constant speculation, particularly since LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh came together in Miami, has been: "whither Carmelo?"

Especially because the Nuggets might be interested in trading him now, for real players, rather than having him walk away with no compensation for them come July.

Anthony's views on what he wants to do have been difficult to keep a track of.

He firstly said that he wants to stay with Denver. Then he wanted to be traded. Then he did not. Then he did. Then, yes, he did want to leave Denver, but only to the New York Knicks.

This dizzy approach has given birth to what is now called, in Denver, "Melo-drama", making suitable use of "Anthony's nickname.

In September, a four-team trade would have sent Anthony to the New Jersey Nets.

The Nets reportedly pulled that offer after a 24-hour window closed but remain keenly interested in dealing for the three-time all-star prior to the February 24 trade deadline.

The Nuggets played the Knicks in New York on December 12, and Anthony was introduced to a standing ovation from the home crowd.

He confided that he had been greeted warmly all over the streets of New York.

"Everybody's yelling out the windows: 'Melo, we need you in New York!' Of course, that feels good when you know someone out there wants you to come and represent their team and represent their city," he said.

Reports emerged that he would accept the three-year, US$65 million (Dh238m) extension offered by the Nuggets only if he were immediately traded to the Knicks.

Then the Nets, who are building an arena in Brooklyn, where Anthony grew up, were identified as part of a three-way December trade designed to be more appealing both to Anthony and the Nuggets than the deal offered by the self-impressed Knicks.

Masai Ujiri, the Nuggets executive, said: "I am listening aggressively" to Anthony offers. Once again, things are heating up in this unpredictable saga and there is an end in sign at long last.

sports@thenational.ae