The NBA season kicked off on Tuesday night with the debut of the new Big Three in Miami and their loss to the old Big Three in Boston. I’ll admit, after the nine-point first quarter showing by the Heat, I flipped over and watched the Boise State football game the rest of the night.
Regardless of that outcome, the Heat, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, will continue to be the biggest storyline. However, one of the underlying stories as the NBA season kicks off resides out West, where Carmelo Anthony will make his season debut tonight with the Denver Nuggets.
The big question remains whether he’ll stay there, or for some, how long he’ll remain in a Denver uniform. The Nuggets have a three-year, $65 million deal for a contract extension on the table, but Anthony has chosen not to sign it, leaving many believing he’s on the move. For tonight, at least, he’ll be a Nugget.
Carmelo Anthony joined ESPN Radio with Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo to discuss taking the court amidst all the off-court rumors, what his plan is going forward, if he understands fans’ assumptions that he’s leaving because he hasn’t signed the extension, how he expects the season to play out, if it will take time for Miami’s Big Three to mesh and if he believes he’ll be in a Nuggets jersey at the end of the season.
On what it will be like to take the court amidst all the off-court rumors:
“That’s the easy part. Anytime I can get in the gym and not have to focus on or worry about he-said, she-said or rumors and everything that’s going on out there [it’s good]. I can just focus on basketball and not have to worry about any of that stuff.”
On what his plan is:
“Right now, I’m here. As of right now, I’m starting the game [Wednesday night] against Utah here on our home court, which I’m excited about. I can’t predict the future, so whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, but right now I’m just focusing on the upcoming season.”
On whether he can understand the fans’ assumptions that he wants to leave because he hasn’t signed the contract extension:
“I understand all of that. I always said that my one thing is I wanted to be able to keep my options open. But as far as the money that’s on the table, I understand the money that’s on the table. I understand it’s a lot. But it’s more than the money. But right now, like I said, I’m here, I’m with the Nuggets and I’m ready for the season to start.”
On how he expects the season to play out for the team:
“I’m looking forward to a great season. There’s a lot of hype going on around the NBA right now, new players on new teams, new situations. I’m just ready for [tonight] and a great season.”
On whether he thinks it will take time for the Heat to mesh in Miami:
“As far as building a championship team, I think they’re going in the right direction. They did put the pieces together. But they haven’t played one game together yet, so I think that’s going to take some time. I don’t think that they’re going to win 82 games in the season. I think they know that. They know it’s going to take some time, some hard work in the gym just getting to that point.”
On whether he would venture a guess on if he’ll end the season in a Nuggets uniform:
“I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. I don’t know. But the only thing I can say is, as of right now, I’m focused on these next couple games and we’ll see what happens.”
Listen to the interview with Carmelo Anthony on ESPN Radio here (interview begins at 33:40)