Carmelo Anthony said Monday he expects to formally meet with Denver Nuggets executives Josh Kroenke and Masai Ujiri this week to get clarification on his future. That future appears to be a trade to New Jersey if Anthony agrees to sign a contract extension, a deal that now looks like it will include veteran guard Chauncey Billups.
Anthony said he is frustrated about the pressure his situation has put on Billups, whose name surfaced over the weekend as a part of a possible megatrade that could involve up to 15 players.
"With the whole thing, with the whole Chauncey situation, for me to see him in that, and all the speculation that's going on, it's kind of hard to see him involved in that," Anthony said after practice. "I feel bad about it. I guess that's the business of basketball."
Anthony said he doesn't believe a trade is imminent.
"That's my feeling," Anthony said. "I don't think so."
Billups did not attend practice Monday. The team reported he was sick.
On Saturday, Billups said about the trade rumors: "I can't control it. I can control this the best I can. That's the only thing I really control. It really has no bearing on what I do out here (on the court)."
Still, Anthony said he understands the difficulty of the situation. Billups, a Denver native, has in the past expressed a desire to finish his career with the Nuggets.
"If he would leave? I think it will be tough," Anthony said. "He's from here. This is his home. He was born and raised here. For him to come back here toward the end of his career, and almost seeing that light at the end of the tunnel, where he can have a chance to retire in his home place, and then to hear that he could be sent to New Jersey anytime soon, I'm pretty sure it could be tough on him and his family."
Anthony said the two talk "every day."
Anthony said he is updated regularly by his agent, Leon Rose, but the Nuggets are ultimately the ones making the decision.
"I'm waiting to see Masai and Josh," Anthony said. "Pretty sure they're working on whatever they're working on right now."
Nuggets fans have been growing increasingly antsy at the Anthony saga, booing Melo during Sunday night's loss to New Orleans. But they are overwhelmingly irritated at the prospect of losing Billups and have been vocal on talk radio and social networks such as Twitter, where one fan suggested, "Nuggets without melo and chauncey an avg attendance of around 10,000."
The Nuggets, who face Phoenix tonight, had started the season strong, despite the knowledge that Anthony would likely be traded, but the longer things drag out, the less focused the team appears.
"We've handled it pretty well," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "If you gave us a grade for handling it, it would be around A-minus, B-plus for the season. Now if you give us a grade for the last three to four games, it might not be."