Carmelo Anthony says he's committed to winning with Knicks
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Having already been through the "Melo-drama," Carmelo Anthony knows how to not let his contract situation and speculation about his future affect his play.
So before coach Mike Woodson had a chance to remind Anthony to focus on this season, the Knicks' best player told his coach he's totally committed to this year and this team.
"He don't have to bring that to me, I already knew that," Anthony said after practice Friday. "I'm a guy who's a strong-minded person who's not going to let that outside stuff bother me. He knows that.
"Actually, I went to him before [camp]. I told him, 'Don't even think about worrying about me, as far as letting that interfere with my game or this team -- I'm not, so you shouldn't.' "
Anthony said Thursday that he will opt out of his contract after the season and become a free agent. He also said he wants to be recruited but doesn't plan on leaving New York. The Knicks can offer him about $34 million more than any other team.
Anthony acknowledged that speculation about the Lakers lining up to talk to him in July makes sense. But he said he's not expecting his friend Kobe Bryant to call him during the season to try to recruit him.
"I think Kobe respects me as a ballplayer, as a person, as a friend," Anthony said. "So I don't think none of them phone calls will be coming in."
In-season conversations like that, if proven, would be considered tampering. That doesn't mean Bryant won't call Anthony on July 1, but Anthony continues to say he's thinking only about this season.
During the 2010-11 season, when he forced a trade to the Knicks, there were almost daily trade rumors about Anthony, mostly involving him heading to the Nets. But Anthony wasn't distracted and had a strong season. He played in 77 games for the Nuggets and Knicks, averaged 25.6 points and 7.3 rebounds and shot 45.5 percent from the field.
"It wasn't tough," he said. "I was able to focus in and play basketball. Once I come in here, there's enough for me to think about. Everybody else on the outside, it's their opinions and what they think; that's not something I'm focused in on. When that time comes [to decide my future], I told you, we'll figure that part out."
Notes & quotes: Iman Shumpert, who sprained his right elbow Thursday against the Wizards, said there is some swelling but he should be all right "in a couple of days." Shumpert, Pablo Prigioni (sprained left elbow) and Metta World Peace (sprained right ankle) were held out of practice, but Woodson said they all should be available Monday against the Raptors in Toronto . . . Woodson also said he will bring Amar'e Stoudemire (knee surgery) and J.R. Smith (knee surgery) on the trip, though neither has been cleared for contact yet.