MINNEAPOLIS -- Carmelo Anthony so far has done everything right when it comes to this season: he's playing like a superstar on the court and not acting like one off of it. For instance, when someone finally asked him about the toast Chris Paul made at Melo and LaLa's wedding on July 10 in New York -- which we first reported here on July 11 well before another publication claimed to have it, as evidenced here (oh the petty wars that develop out of blatant disrespect) -- Carmelo acknowledged it was all in good fun.
"The Miami Heat was the hot topic at that point, there were a lot of players [at the wedding], they were just laughing and joking about it," Anthony reportedly said last night. "It is what it is. It wasn't set up, it wasn't staged. It was just everybody having a good time laughing and joking."
No one has asked Chris Paul about this toast, which always baffled me. He was being interviewed throughout August during his mini tour of Operation: Superstar Freedom and never once was he asked about making the toast.
It could be that these guys were just riffing and the fact that they were in New York and LeBron had just snubbed the Knicks could have been the main factor. But I've talked to several people at that wedding who insist Paul didn't seem to be mocking the idea, but instead promoting a prevailing belief throughout the party. Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke and his son, Josh, were there and may have been the only ones not smiling when it happened.
Speaking of the Nuggets, the changes in the franchise's hierarchy obviously resonate with Carmelo's limbo status. Bret Bearup has been essentially moved out as an influential entity, which is important to the Melopalooza for one very critical reason: he is alleged by many people I've talked to as the main source for information leaked to certain members of the national media regarding trade talks. One NBA executive who has dealt closely with the Nuggets over the years also says Bearup was of the belief that Carmelo should be traded. But Josh Kroenke, who is taking over for his dad once the elder Kroenke heads to St. Louis in January to run the Rams, wants very much to keep Carmelo in the fold and prove to him that the Nuggets will continue to build and be a championship contender.
In fact, one interesting caveat may involve George Karl's future with the team. Karl is seeking a contract extension, but may not get it if Carmelo prefers to play for someone else. The two don't have the best relationship -- if was the departed assistant coach Tim Grgurich who was tight with the Nuggets star -- and it'll be interesting to see where this goes as the season continues.
If you're Denver, it's a tough spot. How do you trade a superstar when you're a top 5 team in the West? How do you not bring back a coach who has done nothing but win 50 games a season, especially when you can't guarantee you'll have the star player back?
For potential examples, look to Phoenix and Cleveland.