Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony reacts during the second half of...

Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony reacts during the second half of the NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks. (Dec. 12, 2010) Credit: AP

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire have a good relationship, but no NBA player is closer to Anthony than Kobe Bryant. The two have talked about Anthony's future and the decision that he'll have to make about signing an extension or testing free agency. At Lakers practice Saturday, Bryant said his advice to Anthony was simple: "Do what makes you happy."

Anthony has never publicly stated his wish to leave Denver, but there have been consistent indications from his camp that he has little to no interest in signing a three-year, $65-million extension to remain. Those closest to him have confirmed that Anthony's first choice would be to team with Stoudemire and play for the Knicks, but the Nets are working feverishly to come up with a better trade offer to the Nuggets with the hope that Anthony would sign an extension with them.

Anthony has been extremely careful with what he says and does, mainly because he wants to avoid the firestorm of criticism and backlash that met LeBron James when he left Cleveland for Miami last summer. But Bryant said Carmelo shouldn't be concerned about pleasing everyone.

"LeBron did it, and obviously, the way he went about it -- a lot of people off," Bryant said. "But the core of the decision was that he wanted to do what made him happy. I think Carmelo should do the same thing."