Before reiterating that he was "close" to leaving the Knicks this summer, Carmelo Anthony smiled Thursday night when told of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's recent comments.

Boeheim, who coached Anthony on Syracuse's national championship-winning team in 2003, said earlier this week that Anthony might have left the Knicks if Phil Jackson hadn't joined the organization as president. He also said Anthony should have signed with the Bulls.

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"I know [Boeheim] says some crazy stuff," Anthony said with a smile. "That's my guy. He's been the same way for 40 years."

"But at the end of the day, man, with what we're trying to create here in New York, it's a new culture and a new identity, and we're trying to create that," Anthony said at Barclays Center, where he served as a coach in a celebrity basketball game sponsored by CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano's charities.

"As far as me staying here, a lot went into that decision. At the end of the day, I did have to believe in Phil, I did have to believe in my teammates. So that's all that matters."