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Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011

Melo-drama looming over All-Star Game

LOS ANGELES (AP) Carmelo Anthony just wants it over, without saying where he hopes it will end.

The season-long trade speculation involving Denver's All-Star forward is nearing completion, with the deadline for deals arriving Thursday afternoon. Anthony would love a quicker answer.

"My mind's boggled right now about this whole situation," Anthony said Friday. "I wish I could get this thing over with right now and I wish there was just something that was just on the table that the Nuggets could just say, 'OK, let's get it done.' "

There were reports it was ready to happen, as the Nuggets tried for the third time this season to complete a deal with New Jersey, and that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was hoping to meet with Anthony sometime this weekend.

Anthony insisted earlier Friday during an NBA Cares community service event there was "no meeting at all" and repeated that claim later during his session with the media.

And he didn't know what he would say if one was scheduled.

"If I was to meet with that guy, to be honest I really don't know what I would say," Anthony said while taking a break from painting a community center.

The Nuggets have looked into trading Anthony since he declined to sign a three-year contract extension worth nearly $65 million this season. The Nets have been close to a deal twice, and the New York Knicks are considered the other favorite to land Anthony if Denver decides to move him by Thursday afternoon.

Though refusing to rule out staying in Denver, Anthony also talked of his time with the Nuggets in the past tense. He won't specify a preferred destination, noting that going to the Nets offers the chance to eventually play in his birthplace of Brooklyn, while the Knicks' rebuilding effort is further along since the arrival of fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire.

Anthony said the constant speculation is causing him to lose sleep and he realizes how much it's worn on people throughout the NBA.

But Anthony said the only thing he can control is whether he signs the extension with Denver, and he has refused to do that so he can keep his options open. But he thought a trade would have been completed by now, and doesn't want to deal with the speculation right up through Wednesday night.

"I want to get something done. Before I leave here I would love to have something on happen," Anthony said. "I would love to have a legit offer on the table where they can sit down with me and say, 'Melo, this is what we have. Let's try to figure it out.' "

Rookies beat sophs

LOS ANGELES (AP) Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins had 33 points and 14 rebounds, Washington's John Wall racked up 22 assists to win the MVP award, and the rookies rallied to beat the sophomores 148-140 Friday night in the NBA All-Star weekend's Rookie Challenge.

Led by the Kentucky connection of former college teammates Cousins and Wall, the newcomers won the lighthearted contest between the NBA's best rookies and second-year players for the second straight year.

No. 1 draft pick Wall scored 12 points while surpassing Chris Paul's 2007 Rookie Challenge record of 17 assists.

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Visit The Japan Times' website for a recap of Saturday's bj-league games.

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