GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Carmelo Anthony skipped most of practice Monday and is officially listed as questionable with a sore knee for Tuesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Anthony, however, said after practice that he is looking forward to being out there on the floor and playing against his good friend Kevin Durant, who could be making his last trip to Madison Square Garden in a Thunder uniform.
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Durant is a free agent after this season. And while most of the smart money has him staying in Oklahoma City, heading to the post-Kobe Bryant Lakers or possibly heading home to the Washington Wizards, there is a case to be made that he could end up playing for the Knicks.
Not only is Durant a good friend of Anthony’s. He is a former teammate of Knicks coach Derek Fisher at OKC. He also played under two current Knicks assistants, Joshua Longstaff and Brian Keefe, and is particularly close with Keefe.
Durant even seems to like players on the Knicks team who he doesn’t know very well. He told reporters Monday during the Thunder’s practice in Manhattan that he was impressed with the skill set of Kristaps Porzingis, calling the 7-3 rookie “a unicorn” because of his ability to both block and shoot from the three-point line.
Durant also told reporters before Oklahoma City’s loss in Brooklyn on Sunday night that he liked playing in front of New York basketball fans.
However, Anthony said he isn’t sure what way Durant is leaning as he approaches free agency.
“I think right now, I haven’t talked to him to see where he’s at, you know, what he’s thinking,” Anthony said. “I know him as a person. I don’t think he’s thinking about it right now. Of course it’s on anybody’s mind. You have your days where you think about it and you have your days where you don’t think about it. The good thing is he’s out in Oklahoma City, where he don’t have to worry about all of this, 15, 20 guys and girls, media people at practice.”
Though it’s hard to imagine any team not wanting Durant, the Knicks already have two big scorers in Anthony and Porzingis and have greater need at other positions, such as point guard.
Durant mentioned that he was going out to dinner in New York on Monday night, but didn’t say if he would be sharing a table with anyone from the Knicks. Anthony did not say whether he was trying to recruit Durant to Madison Square Garden, but said he does talk to players about what it’s like to play here.
“I have my conversations with people. We break bread and we talk,” Anthony said.
Durant said that he sent Fisher a congratulatory text after the Knicks drafted Porzingis, because he was impressed with what he had heard about the Latvian big man.
Fisher said that though he was close to Durant, their relationship has had to evolve now that he is coach of the Knicks.
“My commitment is here,” Fisher said. “So it’s hard for me to be friendly with somebody I want to beat up so bad [Tuesday night].”