LOS ANGELES — Carmelo Anthony hasn’t had much to smile about professionally this season, but something that makes him chuckle is seeing his name linked to the Clippers, Cavaliers and other teams.
“I laugh it off,” he said. “Just laugh it off. People always try to make scenarios, and situations, but nothing has happened.”
Anthony should prepare to do a lot of laughing in the coming months. The way this season is going and with the Knicks (27-39) likely missing the playoffs for a third straight year, there has been speculation that Anthony will consider waiving his no-trade clause this summer for a chance to play for a contender.
Playing with the Clippers and best friend Chris Paul is something that could appeal to him. They will face each other Friday night at Staples Center as the Knicks continue their six-game trip.
“My name is always associated with L.A.,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ 31-point win over the Suns on Wednesday night. “Whether it was early with the Lakers and now it’s the Clippers. I try not to pay attention to that.”
To this point, Anthony has been steadfast in his commitment to the Knicks. During this trip, he said he would like to have a bigger role in recruiting free agents this summer. But athletes change their minds all the time, and you never know what can happen in the offseason.
Anthony said during the All-Star break that players are always trying to recruit him, telling him to come play with them. That’s something that could happen this weekend in Los Angeles, where some of Anthony’s closest friends will be in an All-Star Game-like setting.
After facing the Clippers on Friday night, the Knicks will play the Lakers on Sunday night, when they will face another Anthony buddy, Kobe Bryant, for the last time. Another team has a similar schedule, playing the Lakers first and then the Clippers on Sunday. Anthony knew what team it is.
“Cleveland,” he said.
That’s right. The Cavaliers played the Lakers on Thursday night, so LeBron James will be in Los Angeles for the same amount of time as Anthony and Paul. The three and Dwyane Wade vacationed together last summer.
Wade posted a photo of the four of them. Another picture surfaced of Wade, James and Paul on a banana boat. It’s a safe bet they’re going to get together this weekend, minus Wade. “We might,” Anthony said. “No banana boat for me. But we’ll see how the schedule permits.’’
It’s like homecoming weekend for many of the Knicks’ players, coaches and executives. Anthony has a home here. Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams are from here. Team president Phil Jackson and interim coach Kurt Rambis can sleep in their own homes. Rambis will get to spend time with his wife and children and Jackson can see his fiancee, Lakers exec Jeanie Buss.
Anthony said he was looking forward to being in Los Angeles for five days. “We need the nice weather,” he said. “We could use the nice weather.”
The Knicks will be in California for nearly a week. After the game against the Lakers, they will have two days off before facing the NBA champion Warriors on Wednesday night.
Anthony is looking forward to Sunday’s game against Bryant. “The Sunday game, that’s a special moment, special game,” he said. “Kobe’s last game against New York, my last game against him, it’s going to be a special moment. The season is dwindling down. It’s hard to really fathom the fact that he’s done, that he’s going to be leaving us. That moment is going to be special.”