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Melo fires back at Barkley, Cuban

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks in

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks in action against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won, 131-109. (March 7, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

DALLAS -- Carmelo Anthony called Charles Barkley's criticism "nonsense" and also scoffed at Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's suggestion that the Nuggets are a better team after trading him.

Anthony returned the zing to Cuban by adding, "I'm pretty sure if I'd have come here [to Dallas], he'd have got the better end of the deal."

Barkley told Newsday's Neil Best in January that the Knicks would have "a really good team" and would become "relevant" if they obtained Anthony. But last week the outspoken TNT analyst said the Nuggets "have a better team than the New York Knicks, I can promise you that."

During Thursday night's TNT broadcast of the Knicks' 127-109 loss to the Mavericks, Barkley said the Knicks "have two dynamic offensive players" in Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire but bemoaned the team's defense. He added that the Knicks "are not going to beat Miami, I guarantee you that."

Said Anthony, "It is what it is. I don't lose no sleep over that. A guy like Barkley will continue saying stuff, and I'll go out there and continue to play basketball and being the person that I am, don't listen to that and keep moving on. The way I look at it is it's nonsense and it's somebody else's opinion."

Cuban, whose team made a few mild inquiries into acquiring Anthony before the trade deadline, told reporters before the game that "Denver is much better" after the trade, in which the Knicks sent Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov to the Nuggets in a three-team, 13-player swap.

Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri has said his franchise "got killed" in the trade, which sent Chauncey Billups to the Knicks, but Cuban had a much different outlook: "I think the Nuggets hit a home run." With a dismissive smirk, Anthony offered a theory about that: "I'm pretty sure Cuban is happy that I'm out [of] the West."

The Knicks are 6-4 since the trade. Anthony is averaging 25.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game and shooting 45 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range.

Anthony had a poor shooting night (5-for-15) Thursday and had 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the loss to Dallas.

The four-time All-Star forward consistently has been one of the NBA's top scorers each season (he currently is ranked fifth in the league at 25.2 ppg) and has proven to be on par with Kobe Bryant as the league's best clutch performer since his rookie season in 2003-04. But he has yet to get the transcendent respect that often is bestowed on the two other stars from his draft class, LeBron James, a two-time league MVP, and Dwyane Wade, who was the NBA Finals MVP in 2006.

Anthony also took heavy criticism, especially from Barkley, for the drawn-out drama that engulfed the Nuggets because his decision not to sign a contract extension forced Denver to trade him before the deadline rather than let him walk as a free agent.Technical rescinded. The NBA rescinded what would have been Stoudemire's 16th technical foul, making him eligible to play against the Pacers on Sunday. Players are automatically suspended one game once they've reached 16. Stoudemire has had three technicals rescinded this season.

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