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Carmelo Anthony: Knicks will deal with Nets later; focus is on Olympics

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks reacts

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks reacts in the second half against the Miami Heat in Game 4. (May 6, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Carmelo Anthony isn't ready to delve into analyzing the Knicks' crosstown rivals and whether the Nets indeed are the best team in New York, as new Brooklyn guard Joe Johnson suggested Friday.

"We've got to play first," the Knicks forward said Saturday after the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team's practice at the DC Armory. "We ain't doing no trash-talking. We don't have time for that. We are just going out there and playing ball. We'll deal with that when the season starts. We're not worried about that."

Still, Anthony said he thinks it's a tad funny that Johnson already is proclaiming that the Nets are the Kings of New York before the season tips off.

"Yeah, I mean, 'Welcome to New York, Joe,' " Anthony said. "That's all I've got to say. We'll see them when we play."

Anthony is more focused on the immediate task at hand, which is trying to win another gold medal in London, a quest that begins later this month. This is his third consecutive appearance in the Olympics and he's also participated in the FIBA World Championships, making him a veteran of sorts when it comes to doing his thing as a member of Team USA.

But there was something about those 60 minutes he spent Friday in front of the Capitol during a team portrait that left a serious impression on the guy who grew up a few full-court passes from here in Baltimore.

"That was a moment for us," he said, "just to sit there for the hour that we were there and just reflect on what we are actually doing right now. To take that picture in front of that with "USA" across our chests, you could look back 10, 20 years from now and still feel those goose bumps that we had taking that picture."

That's probably the same way the more than 3,100 people who filed into the DC Armory Saturday felt about getting a glimpse of Anthony and the rest of the U.S. team. They held an open practice for members of the military and their families, creating some lasting memories.

"It's motivational for us," Anthony said. "Just to be here, just to practice, just to walk around and see the troops around here with us, talking to us, saying how happy they are, how inspired they are, not knowing that we are definitely inspired by what they do, it's a wonderful feeling."

Anthony, looking noticeably leaner than he did during this past season, has been showing off his versatility during practice. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski is planning on playing him at the power forward spot and even will give him some time at center when he goes to a smaller, more uptempo lineup.

There's just something about Anthony's style of play. Krzyzewski can't get enough of it.

"Carmelo is beautiful. I love Carmelo," he said. "Talk about commitment. This is his third Olympics, he's played in a World Championship, and as good as he is in the NBA, I think he's one of the outstanding international players because the game is physical. But Carmelo's been great."

Anthony still is eager for that elusive NBA title, but for now, he'll gladly take more gold hardware.

"Winning an NBA championship is a lot," he said. "You definitely want it. It would be for myself and for the New York Knicks. It would be for the City of New York and New York fans, which is only one portion of the amount of fans that we have across America.

"But to win a gold medal, you are representing something bigger. You are representing the United States. You are representing not only yourself, not only New York, but you are representing our country as a whole, and that's just so prideful."

New York Sports