Saturday, March 5, 2011
Melo: Denver success 'takes pressure off me'
By Ian Begley
The Post-Melo Nuggets entered the weekend at 5-1, a record that makes Carmelo Anthony smile.
Anthony said Saturday that his former team's success "takes the pressure off" of him for his role in the three-team, 13-player deal that sent him to New York. He likely would have faced greater scrutiny if the Nuggets struggled in the aftermath of the blockbuster trade.
"I watch the games. I see they're doing well," Anthony said. "That's good. That takes the pressure off of me man. Just this whole situation it worked out for both organizations."
Many in Denver were critical of Anthony for the way he handled his contract situation this season.
He declined the Nuggets' three-year, $65 million contract extension offer in the offseason, leading to months of speculation about his future.
The Nuggets completed a three-team trade with the Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 22 that sent Anthony and Chauncey Billups to the Knicks, which to seemingly put an end all of the MeloDrama.
But Anthony and Nuggets coach George Karl had a mini war of words two days after the deal was completed.
On Thursday, Anthony wrote a letter to Nuggets fans on his personal website expressing "gratitude" and "appreciation" for the fan base that supported him for 7½ seasons.
"They allowed me, a 19-year-old, to come in and lead that team, that organization and that city to where it's at right now," Anthony said Saturday. "So I just wanted to show them that I really appreciate that."
Anthony called his decision to accept a trade to the Knicks and sign a three-year, $65 million extension a "business" move that had nothing to do with his feelings for Denver or Nuggets fans.
The Nuggets received four regulars from Mike D’Antoni’s rotation in the deal: Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov.
Gallinari is sidelined with a broken toe and is expected to return in 7-10 days, according to reports.
Chandler, starting in place of Gallinari, has averaged 14.4 points and four rebounds in his last five games. He the Nuggets with 16 points in their win over Charlotte on March 2.
Felton is serving as a backup to starting point guard Ty Lawson. He had 16 points and seven assists in 30 minutes off the bench in a win over Atlanta on Feb. 28.
Mozgov, meanwhile, has yet to crack Karl’s rotation.
D'Antoni said on Friday that he hasn’t had a chance to watch his ex-players. The reason? Denver's games were on television late at night. Way too late for a self-described "old man" like D’Antoni to watch.