Patrick Ewing tries to get by the Indiana Pacers' Dale...

Patrick Ewing tries to get by the Indiana Pacers' Dale Davis. (June 2, 2000) Credit: Newsday / David L. Pokress

ORLANDO, Fla. - Patrick Ewing said he is happy the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony to join Amar'e Stoudemire, but is the Hall of Famer also a bit jealous that he never had that complementary superstar?

Ewing named Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell, Charles Oakley and John Starks as some of the best players he played with in New York, but he then added with a loud laugh, "They're not Carmelo! They're not Carmelo!"

Ewing never got the opportunity to play with Bernard King, who was the most talented teammate he ever had. King was injured when Ewing was a rookie and then Ewing was injured when King made his comeback late in the 1986-87 season. After King went unsigned (and left to return to All-Star status with the Washington Bullets), the Knicks made attempts to add a second star to join Ewing, but Xavier McDaniel's stint was short-lived, Kiki Vandeweghe was past his prime and Houston and Sprewell came a bit too late.

"I can't worry about that now," Ewing said Tuesday with his trademark wide smile. "I mean I've been retired 100 years."

Ewing proclaimed the current roster, with Stoudemire and Anthony, to be the most star-studded team since the championship era of the early Seventies. "New York hasn't had two bona fide superstars since" Willis Reed, Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier, Ewing said. "Those were three and the rest of those guys were superstars. But I mean those are bona fide superstars."

He also pointed to the large group of media from New York that was assembled at the Magic shootaround Tuesday morning as evidence that the Knicks are suddenly relevant again after many years of dormancy following his era.

"I haven't seen this many of y'all come on the road in a while," he said. "Man, are we in the playoffs? Is this the playoffs?"

It's been more than a decade since the Knicks agreed to trade Ewing, which brought his 15-year tenure with the franchise to a sudden and unceremonious halt. His relationship with the team has been strained since his departure, especially when the Knicks didn't interview him for their coaching job that eventually went to Mike D'Antoni. Ewing has been an assistant coach for seven seasons and is hoping to get a head coaching position one day.

"Hey look, I'm just happy for them," he said. "That's it."