- Associated Press - Monday, January 31, 2011

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - George Karl still believes he might be coaching Carmelo Anthony all season.

“I’ve always felt from the very beginning of the season that the chance of that happening was greater than all you all thought,” Karl told reporters Monday before his Denver Nuggets faced the New Jersey Nets. “I just felt that way from the first day of training camp, from September, I’ve always felt that way.”

Asked his basis for that belief, Karl said: “Just my experiences in the NBA. Just making a big trade in the middle of the season is not an easy thing to do.”

The Nuggets have been weighing a trade for Anthony since he refused to sign a three-year contract extension worth about $65 million over the summer. They have until the Feb. 24 trade deadline if they are going to move him this season.

Denver has twice been close to multi-team trades with the Nets before both fell through. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov then said he was instructing Nets management to end all talks with Denver.

Karl didn’t know whether Prokhorov was bluffing.

“I have no idea. I’ve never met the owner of the team. I’d like to meet him, he sounds like an interesting dude,” Karl said. “I don’t get into that game very much. I think so much information out there is fabricated as much as is telling the truth.”

Anthony did not speak with reporters before the game.

He received a mixed reception when starting lineups were announced, but was booed every time he touched the ball in the first quarter.

Though Prokhorov cited other reasons for pulling out of the talks, Anthony’s initial indifference toward a meeting with Nets officials after reports broke that the Nuggets had granted them permission seemed to confirm the belief that Anthony wasn’t interested in making a long-term commitment to the Nets.

He reportedly prefers the New York Knicks, but might risk giving up millions if he signed there as a free agent this summer, rather than signing an extension this season with the Nuggets or any team he was traded to.

Despite the season-long trade speculation, Anthony was averaging 23.9 points for the Nuggets, who were in sixth place in the Western Conference and playing better lately as they get healthy.

“He’s our foundation, he’s our horse and we’re having a damn good year, so he should be given a lot of credit for that,” Karl said.

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