CHICAGO — Carmelo Anthony was back in the place that seemingly posed the biggest threat to the Knicks when he was a free agent two summers ago. But Anthony said he doesn’t look back.
“I try not to let my mind wander,” Anthony said. “I’ve got enough things on my plate to be wandering and worrying about what could have been.”
Anthony is more concerned with the current and future state of the Knicks. He stayed with the Knicks because they offered the most money, but he also never wanted to leave New York. He put his trust in team president Phil Jackson that he would build a contender. You can’t blame Anthony if some of that trust has waned.
The Knicks, with Anthony back in the lineup after missing the previous game with a migraine, faced the Bulls Wednesday night. Being eliminated from the playoffs for the third straight year is now a matter of when and not if. It’s led to speculation that Anthony might consider waiving his no-trade clause this offseason, depending on what Jackson does to upgrade the roster.
Anthony’s college coach, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, has gone on record saying he thought his former player should have gone to the Bulls. Anthony said he told him as much.
Boeheim said it again on ESPN radio Tuesday. But Boeheim added that Anthony wants to stay with the Knicks and should be praised for remaining committed to the team and the city.
“I try not to talk about those type of things,” Anthony said. “I know the reason why I stuck it out and people that really understand know why I’m sticking it out.
“I think it’s odd to question loyalty at this point in time, especially when you show — and I’ve showed time and time again — my loyalty to not just the organization, but to New York and vice versa. So at this point I just go out there and play basketball. I try not to worry about it.”
This season has been extremely frustrating for Anthony, who returned from left knee surgery he underwent in February 2015. He’s changed his game, becoming more of a facilitator because he thought it would be better for his long-term health and for the team.
It worked early in the season as the Knicks were a surprising 22-22 in late January. They have gone 6-21 since, Derek Fisher was fired and replaced with Kurt Rambis.
Anthony has made headlines, saying he thinks the Knicks should have a coaching search, said management has got to do something this offseason and he couldn’t guarantee he would be back next year.
“I don’t regret anything,” Anthony said. “Anything I said is always drama.”
Anthony’s drama is different from what his good friend LeBron James goes through in Cleveland. The latest incident involved James unfollowing the Cavaliers on Twitter. James said he did it to start mentally preparing for the playoffs.
That seems to be a flimsy explanation, and would be treated much differently in New York and by the media if Anthony did something similar.
“Their drama is more comical,” Anthony said. “Over here, it’s a different type of drama.”
But Anthony doesn’t think his migraine had anything to do with the drama or anything he’s experienced this season.
“If that was the case I’d have had migraines every day last year,” he said. “Last year was a lot worse than this year, just as far as winning 17 games and figuring out how to approach each day mentally. So I think it would have been more stressful last year than it is this year.
“I don’t really want to start trying to name and guess about what triggered the migraine. It happened. I dealt with it. I’m glad I’m back.”