Carmelo Anthony arrived in the city in 2011 as one of the NBA’s most promising young stars — a top scorer from Denver thought to be just what the Knicks needed to revive their struggling franchise.
His personal life was soaring, too.
Less than a year before the trade, he married his longtime girlfriend, former MTV VJ La La Anthony, during a star-studded ceremony at Cipriani’s on 42nd Street.
But Melo’s professional run in the Big Apple has hardly been the slam dunk he — and Knicks fans — hoped it would be.
Then there’s the off-court drama — it surfaced Monday that Melo and his wife were splitting.
Sources told The Post that La La had actually moved out of the family’s Manhattan home several months ago, saying the fading basketball superstar has been cheating on his wife throughout their seven-year marriage.
“Melo’s tagline was, ‘She’s married, I’m not.’ That’s how he would justify it,” a source told The Post.
The Web site TMZ even reported that a dancer at a New York gentleman’s club is pregnant with Melo’s child. While Anthony’s rep declined to comment, a source insisted to The Post that Carmelo didn’t get any dancer pregnant. Either way, the couple’s relationship — like the Knicks’ performance on the court — has hit the skids.
And while the two have broken up and gotten back together in the past, sources said it’s unclear if they can pull off another reconciliation this time around.
When Melo and La La met in 2003, the Brooklyn-born lovebirds were both ambitious up-and-comers who had found success at an early age.
At Syracuse University, Anthony led his team to a national championship as a freshman, earning honors as the NCAA tournament’s most outstanding player.
From there, the gifted athlete was drafted by the Denver Nuggets, where he went on to average more than 24 points a game during his eight-year career with the team.
Meanwhile, in 2003, La La was gaining fame as a co-host on MTV’s “Total Request Live,” a gig she landed after working at radio stations in Atlanta and LA.
She once told an interviewer that she met her future husband “through a mutual friend.
“I was hosting a show on MTV with DJ Clue at the time, and he said, ‘I really want to introduce you to someone that wants to meet you.’ He introduced us, and it started off as a friendship, which evolved over time into something more,” La La told Munaluchi Bride magazine.
For their first date, Anthony flew out to meet her in Long Beach, Calif., where La La was filming for MTV.
“We had dinner at the hotel I was staying at and hung out that night,” she told the magazine. “It was a fun time. I remember it vividly.”
Anthony was so smitten, he proposed on Christmas 2004.
“It was the end of Christmas. We were going to bed,” La La said. “I didn’t think anything of it, I [figured] we opened our gifts for the day and it was over with . . . And then he just surprised me and pulled out a ring asking me to marry him.”
But church bells didn’t ring right away.
Six years — and one child — later, the two finally got hitched at a lavish, July 2010 wedding attended by A-listers like Kim Kardashian, LeBron James and Justin Timberlake. “Best night of my entire life,” La La wrote on Twitter at the time.
“Thank u to all my family and friends who shared tonight with me. I love u. I’m on cloud 9 right now.”
Less than a year later, Anthony was traded to the Knicks in a blockbuster deal — and being hailed as a new hope for the stagnant team.
The move to Madison Square Garden brought the couple back to their roots in New York City.
News of Anthony’s trade was still fresh when VH1 announced that La La was set to star in her own reality series, “La La’s Full Court Life,” which chronicled her life as a basketball wife and aspiring actress over its five-season run.
Melo was trying to carve out his own legacy on the basketball court.
During his first year with the Knicks, he helped the them clinch their first winning season since 2000-2001. It wasn’t a sign of wins to come, however.
Anthony scored a $124 million, five-year contract with the Knicks in 2014 that included a no-trade clause. But the team’s 2014-2015 season proved disastrous, with the Knicks setting a new franchise record of 65 losses in a single season.
“It was hard, but I always try to stay positive,” La La told Larry King at the time. “We always try to keep the energy up . . . Everyone has their time. Next season is looking to be a much better one.”
But the 10-time NBA All-Star has continued to underperform on the court, and the Knicks haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2012-13 season.
This past season became particularly tumultuous, as Jackson explored trading Anthony despite the no-trade clause in his contract. He was also openly critical of Melo’s style of play.
“Carmelo, a lot of times, wants to hold the ball longer than . . . we have a rule, if you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense,” Jackson told CBS Sports in December. “So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold the ball for three, four, five seconds, then everybody comes to a stop. That is one of the things we work with. But he has adjusted to it, he knows what it can do, and he’s willing to see its success.”
Anthony didn’t take the criticism kindly, writing on Instagram a day later: “EGO is the only requirement to destroy any relationship. So, be a BIGGER person, skip the “E” and let it “GO” #StayMe7o.”
“At the end of the day we’re playing good basketball,” he told reporters that same month. “That’s the only thing that matters at this point. So any negativity that’s coming towards me or towards the team, I don’t think we need it at this point.”
Then last week, Jackson said bluntly, “We’ve not been able to win with him on the court at this time.
“He is a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talents somewhere where he can win or chase that championship.”
Anthony has said he’d be “open” to moving on this off-season — but it’s unclear what he’ll do given his personal troubles. He has also said he doesn’t want to uproot his 10-year-old son, Kiyan, with La La from his life in New York.
Meanwhile, sources told The Post that La La’s acting career is starting to take off, with roles in 50 Cent’s “Power” and “Furlough.”
“Carmelo’s career problems on the other hand don’t put him in a good mental place,” a source said. “There’s also the uncertainty about their future — Carmelo is likely to be leaving New York, but who knows for where.”
The couple’s relationship had already been rocky for years, sources acknowledged to The Post.
It eventually degenerated into more of a business arrangement than a marriage — and Melo took solace elsewhere, sources said.
“His attitude is that all professional athletes do it, and many of them do,’’ a source said of Melo’s alleged dalliances.
The source noted that Melo and La La have broken up in the past.
“They split three years ago, gave it some time and then got back together. They’re hoping the same works again,” the source said.
Still, Tuesday, a somber-looking La La stepped out in Tribeca sans wedding ring.
“La La has put up with a lot. She knew it was going on, but I guess this time she’s had enough,” the source said.
Additional reporting by Oli Coleman, Carlos Greer, Marc Berman and Kirsten Fleming
Inside the tumultuous marriage of La La and Carmelo Anthony – Page Six