Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony put on a gray Denver sweatshirt and a pair of pricey headphones, then sprinted for the bus. A wrong turn kept him from the door and sent him right back into a wall of questions.
The key figure in the longest-running trade story of the season is just looking for a little peace at this point. He can't watch TV, can't read the news and can't avoid the same questions he simply can't answer right now.
"I really don't know what's going to happen, to be honest with you," Anthony said during a cordial chat after a Wednesday shootaround as Denver prepared to play the Milwaukee Bucks.
Speculation on where Anthony might land keeps intensifying, with the latest rumors continuing to point to the Knicks in a blockbuster deal. Or the Nets. Or the Bulls. Or the Rockets.
Anthony said he's ready for a resolution, even though he insists he's not fretting about what might happen as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches.
"I know something will have to happen whether I sign the extension or whether the Nuggets move me or whatever," said Anthony, who is averaging 24.9 points this year. "Something is going to happen, so I try not to stress myself out about it."
That doesn't mean he can avoid the hours upon hours of coverage devoted to one of the NBA's biggest stars. He said he can "see" all the rumors out there, no longer needing to watch the latest television reports.
"I turn on the TV, and I turn it right back off because it's always something, it's always a new team, always a rumor, always this person saying that, that person saying this," he said. "I try not to pay attention to it."
Nuggets coach George Karl believes he, Anthony and the organization all want the same thing, and that Denver will have cap space this offseason to build around the superstar if he stayed.
"I think sometimes he thinks he can be better someplace else. As a competitor, I'd say, 'I think you're wrong. I think the best place for you to be is Denver,'" Karl said. "We'll have space, we'll have the ability to make maneuvers, we'll have versatility in our roster for the first time in at least four or five years next year.
"But unfortunately, free agency, we're at the point where we're at the whim of what's going to happen."
Karl described it as a "weird karma" to be talking about Anthony's status every day and that he probably doesn't tell Anthony about the advantages of staying in Denver enough.
Anthony said his thoughts keep turning to a murky future that he hopes begins to clear in a few days. But first, he'll have to get past at least one more major session with the media over the All-Star break.
"I know they're going to be looking to talk to me. And I'm going to be in L.A. for the All-Star weekend and every media outlet is going to be there, so it's going to be a 'MeloWatch,' I guess," he said.