Getting to be a drag

There's a place for him, somewhere a place for him …

He hopes.

Now we can only pray for the day the Nuggets trade Carmelo Anthony, so we don't have to hear about his large backside anymore.

If last season's LeBron James coverage was crazed, he was the franchise player of franchise players.

Melo's just Melo, talented but forever young.

Before Chauncey Billups arrived to tell him which way was up, Anthony made the playoffs once in five seasons.

Nevertheless, as the best player out there, and with Nuggets management in its usual confused posture, we're at four months of trade rumors and counting.

It's as if Anthony was born to star in a farce they could name for him … the Melo drama.

New Nuggets President Josh Kroenke and general manager Masai Ujiri are bumbling around while bristling at suggestions they're clueless.

Nuggets dysfunction goes back years with owner Stan Kroenke's confidante, Brett Bearup, as power behind the throne, Mark Warkentien as GM and Rex Chapman floating around.

Dizzy as it was, they pulled off the Billups-Allen Iverson deal that set up their run to the 2009 West finals.

Unfortunately, the Lakers of the Rockies fell apart last season when coach George Karl left to be treated for cancer.

With Kroenke's son, Josh, a former Missouri guard, moving in, Bearup was eased out … which was bad timing because Bearup was the tough-minded one who knew they had to fish or cut bait with Anthony.

Reluctant to fish, a source says their first inclination was to offer a three-year deal, with only two guaranteed.

And there went any chance of getting it done.

Bumbling on, they had David Griffin, the Suns' player maven, set to succeed Warkentien as GM, until he heard the offer and gagged.

Coincidentally or not, Griffin is close to Bearup.

Worse, thinking they held all the cards, they asked for incredible packages … like the Clippers' Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon.

The Nets' offer — Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and beaucoup first-round picks — was put on hold.

It remains the basis of the deal they still are expected to make … but Anthony now insists the Nets get Billups and the Pistons' Richard Hamilton.

Of course, that could mean the Nets pick going to the Nuggets may be more like No. 11-13 than No. 1-3.

If you want to know why Anthony is dead set on leaving, the answer is Creative Arts Agency.

It's CAA, the agency to the movie stars, and now, NBA stars.

It's the same cast of characters that was behind the scenes when LeBron James wound up with the Heat with fellow CAA clients Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

With CAA keen to see clients to big markets, the Nets, headed for Brooklyn in 2012, make the cut.

The Nets have money now, with new owner Mikhail Prokhorov a Russian billionaire.

Of course, they still could be the old black hole. They don't just have to be good, they have to be better than the Heat, the Celtics, the Magic, the Bulls and, most of all, the Knicks, now so far out of sight the Nets can't see them.

On the other hand, where else can Anthony go?

New York?

Over the dead bodies of Amare Stoudemire and coach Mike D'Antoni. With the ability to hold two maximum slots until 2012 when Dwight Howard and Chris Paul can be free, any Knick who mentions Anthony's name should be hospitalized.

Lakers? Not interested.

Clippers? Not even them. With Griffin now a star and Gordon averaging 24, as Anthony does, why pay Anthony $18 million?

The Bulls? They would take him cheap — which precludes Joakim Noah, whom the Nuggets sought.

The Heat? If Anthony always will be tight with 2003 draft classmates James, Wade and Bosh, he's the last thing they need.

The Celtics? They have gambled on non-Celtic types like Bob McAdoo when they were desperate. Now they would disband first.

There is one lovely city that doesn't have a beach, a theater district or movie stars' footprints in cement.

It does have a team with a take-charge point guard, athletic big men and shooters, so it's not like jumping into the unknown and crossing your fingers.

Aw, you guessed it.

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