Carmelo Anthony's unending presence among trade rumors has led to distraction for the Denver Nuggets and could cost the All-Star forward playing time, according to a report from FanHouse's Chris Tomasson.
'Melo has been a focus of trade rumors since August, when he announced he did not plan to sign an offered $65 million contract extension with the Nuggets. The rumors hit fever pitch in October, when the New Jersey Nets reportedly had a deal for Anthony, and again in January, as numerous reporters had 'Melo two shakes of a lamb's tail away from being on a plane to Newark.
The Nuggets have actually performed fairly well of late, beating the Suns, Cavaliers and Heat by a combined 90 points last week before submitting to the Spurs over the weekend. But Nuggets coach George Karl isn't satisfied with Anthony's commitment during practice.
"If Melo plays distracted, I can't play him as many minutes," Karl, whose Nuggets play host to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, told FanHouse. "I thought he was very distracted (Tuesday)... I don't know (if it's because of trade rumors). I don't have that answer."
Karl said overall the Nuggets had a very bad practice Tuesday and the team looked distracted, but he was willing to single out Anthony.
Karl would appear to be attempting to take control of the situation whether 'Melo stays or goes; as such, it's not really a sign that Karl is preparing for life after Anthony. The two have had a great run together in the Mile High City, but they've also butted heads publicly. This is not anything particularly new.