SAN ANTONIO — Carmelo Anthony said he’s willing to “pass the torch” to someone the way Tim Duncan did. Kristaps Porzingis is the likeliest candidate.
Duncan was “The Man” in San Antonio for years, but he handed the keys to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and now it’s Kawhi Leonard’s team.
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“If I have those players on my team, somebody to pass the torch, of course I’m willing to do that,” Anthony said before the Knicks played the Spurs on Friday night. “I think [Duncan] realizes that he wasn’t going to be able to do it by himself. Some days he has it, some days he doesn’t, but I don’t think he worries about that because he’s got other guys on his team who can carry that load.
“You have to want to do that. You have to be willing to do that. If you talk about sacrifice, that’s the ultimate sacrifice.”
Anthony has said he knows the Knicks will be Porzingis’ team someday. But Porzingis is a rookie, and Anthony still is the Knicks’ best scorer and player. So it’s not happening yet.
Pop on Porzingis
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he doesn’t watch video, but he’s seen enough of Porzingis to be impressed. “He’s a special young man,” Popovich said before Porzingis recorded 24 points and 10 rebounds in the first three quarters en route to a 28-point, 11-rebound night. “They were very astute in figuring out what he might be down the road. His agility, his sense of the game, his skills are quite significant. I think he’s going to be a great player.”
Derek Fisher’s most famous shot — with four-tenths of a second left during a 2004 playoff game against the Spurs — was taken here. But he said he doesn’t think about it when he’s in the arena.
“I think about the fact that four of the five banners they have hanging up there, I was on the team to beat to get there,” Fisher said. “So I enjoy the five [rings] that I have. They stood in the way of four. That’s what I think about.”
The Spurs ousted Fisher’s Lakers in 1999 and 2003, the Jazz in 2007 and the Thunder in 2014 en route to those championships.
Anthony isn’t concerned about being fourth in the All-Star voting among Eastern Conference frontcourt players. The top three vote-getters start. “My fans are going to do what they’re supposed to do,’’ he said. “I believe in my fans.”