You knew this was coming: Carmelo Anthony denies report he has decided to leave Knicks

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Anybody who tells you they know what Carmelo Anthony is going to do this summer is selling you something. And it’s something that doesn’t smell good.

But we are going to be inundated with this stuff between now and July 1, when Anthony likely will become a free agent.

The latest was ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, who on his New York radio show Thursday said he heard from sources ‘Melo is definitely leaving the Knicks and then went on to once again hype the ‘Melo to the Lakers this summer idea.

Anthony shot down that idea at shootaround before the Knicks play the Nets Thursday, as reported by Rod Boone of Newsday:

With so many variables in play, Anthony himself could not have made a definitive decision on what he will do more than six months from now. Remember the Knicks can offer one more guaranteed year in this contract, plus larger raises, so that’s nearly $30 million guaranteed Anthony has to leave on the table to bolt New York. That would be the New York Knicks team he fought so very hard to get to, the city where he loves to play.

Another consideration: Just how strong is the market for ‘Melo at max dollars. Going to the Lakers means likely reuniting with Mike D’Antoni, plus it means a Lakers offense based around the isolation-heavy preferences of ‘Melo and Kobe Bryant. In a West with the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Trail Blazers and Warriors does Kobe/’Melo strike you as a title contender? Me neither. And the Lakers can’t even offer Anthony a full max after Kobe’s new contract, ‘Melo would have to take a little discount and after that there is no money to bring in good role players around him. The Lakers are rumored to really want to go after Kevin Love in 2015 (LaMarcus Aldridge and others could be available then as well).

Who else will offer ‘Melo a max? Dallas? A rebuilding team like Philadelphia or Orlando? Hard to see those teams stepping up with big offers. Maybe there can be a sign-and-trade with another team, but then the Knicks and James Dolan have to go along with it.

As noted above, there are a lot of variables in play and the most likely outcome is he stays put in New York. But nobody knows what will happen this summer. Don’t buy anyone telling you they know how this plays out.