Amar’e Stoudemire, who left the Phoenix Suns in 2010 when he signed a five-year, $100-million deal with the Knicks, doesn’t think Carmelo Anthony’s contract situation will be a distraction this season.
But his advice to Anthony is to not talk about his impending free agency.
“I dealt with it before,” Stoudemire said. “What I did was I kept it quiet until the actual summer. I think it won’t be a distraction. We understand what we’re trying to do as a team. We’re trying to win a championship. We’re trying to improve on what we built on last year. So it shouldn’t be a distraction for us as players. We should be okay with it.”
Anthony had said he wouldn’t discuss his contract once training camp started. But a Sept. 11 interview done with the New York Observer, during which Anthony said, “I want to be a free agent,” wasn’t published until Tuesday. So Anthony was asked about it and he addressed it a few days ago.
Anthony said he will opt out after the season and become a free agent July – but he wants to return to the Knicks. He also said he told Mike Woodson not to worry about that affecting his performance, and that he’s focused on this season.
Naturally, Anthony could change his mind about staying with the Knicks if they don’t meet expectations this season or aren’t able to acquire players that put them in position to win a championship next season.
The Lakers are expected to pursue Anthony and he likely will listen to their sales pitch.
“We know this league is based upon business decisions, how you feel and how your family feels, and what’s best for your family,” Stoudemire said. “I’m sure he’s well-educated. He knows what it takes, the best opportunity for him and his family. So we’ll see how it goes.”
Stoudemire, trying to return from a third knee surgery in less than 10 months, went through contact Saturday for the first time since his latest procedure.
If he can continue to progress and scrimmage without setbacks, Stoudemire said “it’s possible” he could play opening night, Oct. 30, against the Bucks.