Carmelo Anthony during the World Basketball Festival at Rucker Park...

Carmelo Anthony during the World Basketball Festival at Rucker Park in New York. (Aug. 13, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

 No one is embracing his newfound New York celebrity more than Amar'e Stoudemire, the living Times Square billboard who has been jet-setting the Big Apple since his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in early August. The city, however, has been teeming with NBA players, especially after the USA Basketball charter touched down here after the team claimed gold in the FIBA World Championships on Sept. 12 in Istanbul.

So many things to enjoy, from Fashion Week, to the U.S. Open, to Monday Night Football at the new Meadowlands Stadium to the Jay-Z/Eminem concert at Yankee Stadium. And, aside from Amar'e, among the basketball royalty to take all of it in -- every single event -- was Carmelo Anthony and his new bride, Lala Vazquez. (By the way, VH1's LaLa's Full Court Wedding,  a reality series based on the planning of their NYC wedding, debuts this Sunday at 10:30 p.m.).

A night after Melo was serenaded by chants of "Let's Go Knicks!" from fans at the Meadowlands during the Jets' loss to the Ravens (word is he was in a suite and the Baltimore product, despite his Brooklyn roots, rooted for the Ravens), the all-star forward was with Stoudemire in a suite at the House that George Built taking in the second night of the epic hip-hop doubleheader.

[Bloghost note: Don't ask me why the jargon suddenly morphed into gossip column style, it's like I'm subconsciously getting my Cindy Adams on...Fixers, it's been a long offseason. SMH]

There's no doubt Amar'e is looking for another star to join him and share the wealth of Manhattan fame (why does Bobby Bonilla's failed "You guys won't be able to knock the smile off my face" pronouncement immediately come to mind?) and the list includes Melo and Chris Paul (you do remember when we told you about topics openly discussed at Melo's wedding, don't you?). We already know CP is going to take some time, if there's any shot at all of it happening, because he won't be a free agent until 2012 and we're an entire collective bargaining process away from even being able to understand how it could happen, if it were to happen.

But it doesn't sound like Carmelo is willing to wait until next summer, when he'll be a free agent, when the Knicks can clear enough cap space to sign him (once a new CBA is agreed upon, of course).

"You know he wants to get it done [now] so he can do a [longterm] deal before the CBA is up," a person with direct knowledge of Carmelo's thinking told us this week.

His longterm security would include this year ($17.1M) and the player-opt for 2011-12 ($18.5M)  in his current contract, plus a three-year extension). That's the the kind of maxed-out, long-term assurance that fellow Class of '03 stars LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh got this summer and that the NBA is likely looking to eliminate in the new CBA.

The Nuggets are offering those three years and the max of $65M and he has yet to take it and, as we've been telling you since early July, he doesn't want to take it (at least not right now). But while there have been strong suggestions that Melo's camp is trying to get the Nuggets to solicit trades for him now, the Nuggets are in no hurry and, with an entire year for Carmelo to accept the offer, they have no reason to be in a hurry. And they're certainly not looking to take what little the Knicks have to offer right now.

The source admitted at this point it is "wishful thinking" that anything can be done right now with the Knicks and Carmelo. From what I understand, the Knicks would prefer to get into the season with this new roster, which has several young players like Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph and even Russian center Timofey Mozgov (yes, he caught the eyes of several NBA scouts at the FIBAs), and see what they have before making any more drastic changes.

The perspective from the Knicks is that their best play would be to go after Carmelo as a free agent, so they wouldn't have to weaken their roster by trading away players. But Carmelo and his people are worried -- with good reason -- that the same money available to him now under the current agreement won't be there when he does become a free agent under the new agreement. The only thing that could save him is if the league offered a concession that grandfathered 2011 free agents under the old deal.

What was that about wishful thinking? 

And let's not try to calculate how much money Carmelo can make up off the court by playing in New York. The strategy was played out during the LeBronathon and it wound up meaning absolutely nothing.

Like it or not, Melo is about to enter the season as the new LeBron. Everywhere he goes, he will be asked about his future. And don't think for a second that the Nuggets, as a franchise, will have his back, especially if they know he has one foot out the door. This won't be the blind loyalty the Cavs showed LeBron. This will be much different and that will certainly weigh on Carmelo.

(In case you're wondering, the Nuggets will be in New York for a Sunday matinee on Dec. 12. Get your custom-made Knicks "Anthony" jerseys ready, but keep in mind No. 15 is already retired - twice - to the rafters).

With the Knicks essentially out of any realistic scenarios right now (things could change as we get closer to mid-season and as some young players become more valuable), Melo's camp will push other locations, as we saw recently with the Chicago Bulls. But, really, does it make sense for the Bulls to move Joakim Noah? They have Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer, two players who need the ball. What they need is a small forward who distributes (but that guy signed in Miami...Hedo Turkoglu would fit, if he was younger and cared more), not another mouth to feed on offense.

The Nets could still wind up a more legit option because they can offer current draft picks and young talent (note: monitor the progress of Derrick Favors) and the future move to Brooklyn. Plus, Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov are still feeling burned by LeBron. But Melo would still have to wait on that, as well.

Denver would prefer to send him to a team that can offer the most value for him, but, of course, Carmelo does have some say on his next destination because, of course, he would have to agree to an extension, first.

So the question that he entered the summer with remains: what's more important to him: the security of a max extension or the appeal of a desired big-market address? He has a season to figure that out.