Billups '100 percent hopeful' on 'Melo

Chauncey Billups said he may know something about Carmelo Anthony's future after speaking with his Nuggets teammate the past few days. But Billups is keeping it quiet.

Anthony's $65 million contract extension with Denver is growing spider webs on the table. Billups said he hopes Anthony makes a decision on whether or not to sign the extension before the season, so he won't be asked about it in every city.

"I'm 100 percent hopeful," Billups said after Team USA's practice at the Knicks practice facility in Westchester County. "It's between me and my guy. If y'all have a close personal friend and they're going through something and the media asks, you're not going to expose that. Y'all find out when he wants y'all to know."


Anthony, who has had interest in the Knicks, has been in New York supporting Team USA, which faces China in a scrimmage today at the Garden and hosts France tomorrow. Anthony sat on Team USA's bench during Thursday's scrimmage at Radio City Music Hall.

In a clinic at Rucker Park yesterday for the Nike World Basketball Festival, a fan asked Anthony about his future.

"I'm signing a three-year extension -- with Rucker Park," Anthony said, deadpan.

Anthony told The Post on his last visit to Rucker Park in June he didn't like the college recruiting process and wouldn't look forward to being recruited again -- a possible hint he plans to stay in Denver.

Though Billups can't be certain he and Anthony will be teammates much longer, he sees a long, prosperous future with former Knick Al Harrington, who signed a five-year, full mid-level contract with the Nuggets in July. The Post asked Billups if Harrington was underappreciated in New York.

"He had some good times and obviously he had some stretches where he didn't play that well," Billups said. "But I thought he could've been very, very valuable here as a Knick."

Billups hinted the Knicks had no leaders for Harrington to follow, seemingly taking a shot at coach Mike D'Antoni.

"I think a guy like Al is going to benefit from the leadership that we have there," Billups said. "I'm not going to let him get away with being sub-par or not playing defense or not rebounding and still wanting to shoot the ball.

"I thought [the signing] was great for us. I know Al really well. I think for the way that we play, we've been looking for a shooting big anyway for a couple years. And I think he's going to do well for us."



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