In a media day appearance with far more news value than the one shown on ESPN from Miami, Carmelo Anthony expertly tore a page from LeBron James' playbook by saying, "I'm leaving my options open."
As talks progressed on a four-team trade that would send Anthony to New Jersey Monday, Anthony did, in fact, make his anticipated appearance at Nuggets media day -- wearing, of course, a Nuggets uniform. More important than how he looked was what he said. Those who followed the long national nightmare known as LeBron's year-long prelude to becoming a free agent will recognize that key phrase.
"At the end of the season, I'll sit down with my team. I'll sit down with the Nuggets."
It is no surprise that the same script given to LeBron by his Creative Artists Agency representatives also was provided to Melo on this very tense day for the Nuggets organization. No surprise, especially, to those who read this post from Matt Moore more than a month ago.
This, along with Anthony reminding everyone that he's never publicly spoken about wanting to be traded, is just the next inevitable step in this showdown.
But will it have the same ending? Does this mean Anthony will BE a Nugget at the end of the season? Hardly.
Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri, who offered no details on the face-to-face meeting with Anthony that he was finally able to arrange Monday, just experienced this kind of dance for an entire season with Chris Bosh in Toronto. Everyone knows how that situation ended, and how James' ended, too.
Does Ujiri intend to be held hostage by another superstar, only to lose him and receive sign-and-trade scraps in return? Evidently not, given that Ujiri successfully accelerated the trade talks with New Jersey, Utah and Charlotte over the past few weeks -- talks that moved closer Monday to the consummation of a deal.
There was no way any of this was going to be solved in a brief podium interview at media day. Anthony said the right things, said them well, and now the Melo trade machine marches on to its inevitable conclusion.
"I'm here today," Anthony said. "Whatever the future holds, it holds."
The nuggets from Anthony at the Pepsi Center podium came courtesy of Chris Tomasson , Benjamin Hochman and Chris Dempsey .