NEW YORK Carmelo Anthony definitely wants to play in New York on Sunday.
He insists he isnt thinking about his future beyond that, and denies circling the Denver Nuggets lone visit to Madison Square Garden on his calendar.
Everybodys been circling it for me. So I didnt have a chance to circle this game, Anthony said Saturday after practice at a local sports club.
Its Anthonys opportunity to inherit LeBron James old role as the superstar who receives a raucous ovation from the Knicks fans because they believe hell be joining them soon.
James passed on the Knicks Now they boo him, Anthony said and the Nuggets star reiterated Saturday that he hasnt decided hes Big Apple bound, no matter what has been reported.
Everybodys got something to say about every situation, Anthony said. My mind is not made up; my mind is just focused on this game (today). Thats really all Im focused on right now. My mind is not made up, I dont know where thats coming from.
Its not certain Anthony will play. He missed the last two games with a sore right knee, and the Nuggets are calling him a game-time decision. Anthony worked out and said hell arrive early to the arena to test the knee, but coach George Karl said his gut feeling was that Anthony would try to go.
Anthony seemed to be moving well during his workout, saying he felt better but still was bothered sometimes when running or jumping. If he plays, the Knicks expect him to play well.
If hes out there, hes going to be a handful, coach Mike DAntoni said.
One that Knicks fans envision lining up alongside Amare Stoudemire in a powerful front line.
Anthony has refused to sign the three-year, $65 million contract extension that has been on the table since last summer and can become a free agent in July. A resolution will come before then, as Anthony said he has constant discussions with general manager Masai Ujiri and expects a decision one way or the other to be made before Februarys trading deadline when the Nuggets likely would deal Anthony if he told them he wasnt coming back.
If Anthony is considering New York, where he was born, lived his first eight years and was married this summer, the Knicks can show him something they couldnt when they tried to recruit James. They have won seven consecutive games and are 15-9, playing their best basketball in a decade, and with Stoudemire in place have a much better chance of convincing a free agent he can win here.
I think every organization, that would be better, DAntoni said. I think that you win, you get more valuable pieces.
Whether he comes or not, Anthony already has helped the Knicks. He last spoke to Stoudemire after the Nuggets 120-118 victory Nov. 16 in Denver that dropped New York to 3-8. Anthony said he told his friend to get them boys on track, to do what hes got to do.
The Knicks are 12-1 since, and Stoudemire tied a franchise record in Fridays 101-95 victory at Washington with his seventh consecutive 30-point game.
It sunk in, and hes doing everything I told him to do, Anthony said.