All-Stars love Anthony, but avoid the ‘Melodrama
Every player at All-Star weekend has been following the
Carmelo Anthony’s agonizingly protracted departure from the
Denver Nuggets has caught the league’s attention, but not everybody
is eager to give advice to the NBA’s sixth-leading scorer.
”When I talked to him, I told him I just want him to be
happy,” Kobe Bryant said. ”I don’t talk too much to him about the
trade because I’m sure he’s talked about it ad nauseam. But every
time I speak to him about it, it’s always him making a decision
that he feels is best for him, and nobody else.”
The East All-Stars have another reason to be wary of counseling
Anthony. After all, if he joins Amare Stoudemire in New York, the
Knicks will become an immediate rival for Miami, Boston and Orlando
in an already crowded conference.
Anthony has spoken to LeBron James about his decision and the
machinations of his potential departure before his contract
expires. James realizes he was in a dissimilar situation last
summer, when the unrestricted free agent took less than a maximum
contract to join the Miami Heat.
”I’m not going to sit here and elaborate on it, because there’s
way too much going on with that whole situation,” James said.
”But I wish the best for him in whatever decision he makes in his
PICKING SIDES?: The NBA All-Stars heard all about the NHL
allowing two captains to choose their teams at hockey’s All-Star
LeBron James doesn’t imagine that will happen any time soon in
”No, because Eastern Conference, Western Conference, we don’t
like each other,” James said. ”We wouldn’t pick somebody from the
Western Conference to be over here with us, and I don’t think they
would, either. I don’t think it would work.”
Dwyane Wade pondered the possibility in another way, saying Kobe
Bryant and Kevin Garnett would be the natural choices for
”But K.G. would pick all of his teammates, and he wouldn’t pick
any of the Heat, so it would be all messed up,” Wade said with a
chuckle. ”That might be fun.”
ROOMIE REUNION: Minnesota forward Kevin Love and Oklahoma City
guard Russell Westbrook are thrilled by one more chance to play
together in their hometown.
Love and Westbrook were roommates at UCLA, and they’re both
first-time All-Stars on the West squad.
”This was a date we both had circled on our calendar,” said
Love, who leads the NBA with 15.5 rebounds per game. ”All those
practices at UCLA, all those talks about what we want to do with
our lives, it’s amazing that it’s all coming true – and it’s in
L.A., where I was born, which is just the icing on the cake. It’s
the perfect place at the perfect time.”
Westbrook is averaging 22.2 points and 8.6 assists for the
Thunder. After getting voted into a reserve role for the West, he
was thrilled to hear about Love’s addition to the team as a
replacement for injured Houston center Yao Ming.
Love’s lofty rebounding numbers don’t surprise his former
”A lot of people doubted him because of his size at the (power
forward) position,” Westbrook said. ”He just has big hands and a
great nose for the ball.”
GET YOUR OWN NAME: All-Star forward Blake Griffin has captivated
the basketball world with his raw athleticism and stunning dunks,
producing a highlight-worthy play nearly every time the Clippers
take the court. Some broadcasters are even calling him the Human
They’d better not do it within earshot of Dominique Wilkins.
”That name is already enshrined,” the Hall of Fame forward
said with a grin. ”They can’t give him that name. But I think he
has the opportunity to create his own identity, and he’s quickly
Wilkins redefined aerial acrobatics as a nine-time All-Star
during a career spent mostly with the Atlanta Hawks. He even played
part of one season with the Clippers after a trade in 1994, but he
won’t compare his skills to Griffin’s unique attributes.
”It’s nice to have a young guy like that be compared to you,
but we’re two different types of players,” Wilkins said. ”I mean,
there’s similarities as far as power and elevation off the floor,
but he’s a big power forward with a lot of strength. When I was
coming up, I was compared to Dr. J, so that’s the nature of the
DUNK CONTEST: Griffin is the headliner in Saturday’s slam dunk
contest, and the All-Stars almost uniformly think he’s taking home
”You’d put your house up for sale to say Blake Griffin is going
to win,” LeBron James said. ”I just want to see some excitement,
James’ underdog candidate is Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, a former
USC star, while Dwyane Wade thinks Washington’s Javale McGee has a
QUOTE OF THE DAY: ”I thought the tighter shorts were far
cooler, and I think they’re going to make a comeback. I’m
serious.” – Boston coach Doc Rivers.
AP freelance writer Victoria Sun contributed to this report.