'Melo drama in high gear

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:27 PM ET

LOS ANGELES — Depending on the minute, hour, credibility of the news outlet, authenticity of the report, Carmelo Anthony will either be a New Jersey Net, New York Knick or remain in Denver by the time they jump ball at Sunday’s all-star game.

Depending on which way the wind was blowing in unseasonably cool L.A., Anthony was said to be meeting with Nets and Knicks ownership, a gathering Melo would categorically deny during his grilling by the media.

The line of questioning got so redundant during Friday’s availability that Anthony made an abrupt exit, not surprising given how ludicrous this whole Melo drama has played out.

Everyone knew Anthony would emerge as the centre of attention during all-star weekend, but no one could expect how ridiculous this whole sage would turn.

As is the norm at all-star weekend, participants in the mid-season classic convene inside a hotel ballroom, sort of like the NBA’s version of media day at Super Bowl minus marriage proposals.

Reporters were clamouring for find the ideal position around Melo’s table that they began to secure spots 45 minutes before his scheduled arrival.

At first, Anthony seemed calm and composed, patiently answering questions, even when the questions began to repeat themselves.

And then he had enough, turning to his right, getting up from his chair and bolting for the nearby exit.

Whether he was heading off into the L.A. night to rendez vous with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, no one was certain.

Whether Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan was waiting to discuss a deal with Anthony, no one would say.

When he was fielding questions, Anthony said a lot, but didn’t say anything of any substance.

There’s no bigger story in the NBA on the national level than Melo’s future.

As next Thursday’s trade deadline approaches, Anthony represents the most talented and highest profiled player who appears to be on the move.

The Knicks, who were spurned by LeBron James, would dearly want to team Anthony with Amare Stoudemire with a long-term eye on perhaps getting their hands on Chris Paul.

The Nets desperately need a face to a franchise that will soon move to Brooklyn.

The Nuggets are trying to shed salary, acquire as many young pieces and draft choices as possible, while at the same time face the real possibility of losing a star for nothing.

Whatever happens, Anthony’s days in Denver are over.

The Nuggets have had a three-year extension worth $65 million US on the table for months, but Anthony has yet to sign it, sending out signals that he prefers the New York market.

One report had the Nets and Nuggets agreeing to deal, only it hinged on Anthony agreeing to sign an extension.

Reportedly, New Jersey would land Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Melvin Ely and Renaldo Balkman for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy and four first-round draft picks.

But Anthony needs to be sold on the Nets’ future, which is a hard sell at the best of times.

It’s become pretty clear during this lengthy saga that Anthony wants to be a Knick, but New York has been reluctant to rid itself of some young emerging pieces to make the deal.

“It’s a wild and crazy time,’’ Anthony said in the understatement of the season.

“I can’t really sit here and say I want to go here or I want to go there.”

What Anthony wants, which he made abundantly clear on Friday, is a what he coined as a “legit’’ offer by the end of the weekend.

“I would love to have something happen this weekend,’’ Anthony said as his annoyance level grew. “I would love to have a legit offer to sit down and figure it out.”

Whether it’s this weekend or by late next week, something will finally happen following months of speculation.

“I know you guys are all tired of this Melo drama.”

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca


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