LOS ANGELES – Carmelo Anthony just wants it over, without saying where he hopes it will end.
The season-long trade speculation involving Denver's All-Star forward is nearing completion, with the deadline for deals arriving Thursday afternoon. Anthony would love a quicker answer.
"My mind's boggled right now about this whole situation," Anthony said Friday. "I wish I could get this thing over with right now and I wish there was just something that was just on the table that the Nuggets could just say, 'OK, let's get it done.'"
There were reports it was ready to happen, as the Nuggets tried for the third time this season to complete a deal with New Jersey, and that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was hoping to meet with Anthony sometime this weekend.
Anthony insisted earlier Friday during an NBA Cares community service event there was "no meeting at all" and repeated that claim later during his session with the media.
And he didn't know what he would say if one was scheduled.
"If I was to meet with that guy, to be honest I really don't know what I would say," Anthony said while taking a break from painting a community center.
The Nuggets have looked into trading Anthony since he declined to sign a three-year contract extension worth nearly $65 million this season. The Nets have been close to a deal twice, and the New York Knicks are considered the other favorite to land Anthony if Denver decides to move him by Thursday afternoon.
Though refusing to rule out staying in Denver, Anthony also talked of his time with the Nuggets in the past tense. He won't specify a preferred destination, noting that going to the Nets offers the chance to play in his birthplace of Brooklyn, while the Knicks' rebuilding effort is further along since the arrival of fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire.
Anthony said the constant speculation is causing him to lose sleep and he realizes how much it's worn on people throughout the NBA.
"It's way past soap opera. It's like a bad movie now," Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley said Thursday.
But Anthony said the only thing he can control is whether he signs the extension with Denver, and he has refused to do that so he can keep his options open. But he thought a trade would have been completed by now, and doesn't want to deal with the speculation right up through Wednesday night.
"I want to get something done. Before I leave here I would love to have something on happen," Anthony said. "I would love to have a legit offer on the table where they can sit down with me and say, 'Melo, this is what we have. Let's try to figure it out.'"
Prokhorov's spokeswoman insists nothing has changed with the impending NBA trading deadline, despite multiple reports of a possible meeting and/or deal. Prokhorov cited the high price the Nuggets were seeking and his frustration with the public nature of the talks when he halted them, not because of reports that Anthony only would agree to a long-term extension with the Knicks if he were dealt.
There are also reports that Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan wants to meet with Anthony this weekend. Anthony said there was no meeting scheduled with him, either, but seems to see the value in talking with a team that's interested in him.
"Whether it's Prokhorov or Dolan or (Lakers owner Jerry) Buss, the third team that just came out last week, whoever it is, you would want to sit down and have eye contact with him and get a feeling for him," Anthony said.
Stoudemire said he believes Dolan wants Anthony in New York, and thinks Anthony likes the Knicks — but not the circus that's followed his status.
"It can be somewhat foreign to him with all the attention, he may love it, but I think he really wants to find a stable situation for him as far as where he's going to play, like a sense of security," Stoudemire said.
Dallas and Houston have been speculated as teams that would agree to trade for Anthony without a guarantee he would sign an extension with them. He doesn't want one of those deals.
"I really don't want to have to be a rental. I don't feel like I'm a rental player," he said. "I don't want to go somewhere and be a rental for two months and then have to deal with this all over again. I don't want to have to do that."
And he realizes the Nuggets don't have to send him to one of his desired destinations. All he knows is the answers are finally coming.
"The Nuggets have to weigh their options," Anthony said. "If it's a deal with somebody else that's legit, then we all have to sit down and hash that out and talk about it. But time is ticking man, and time is money."