Union president Chris Paul looking out for Carmelo Anthony, Charles Oakley
NEW ORLEANS — Car melo Anthony and LeBron James missed All-Star Media Day, but it wasn’t because they were holed up somewhere plotting how they can become teammates in Cleveland.
Anthony, selected Wednesday evening to replace injured Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, was excused by the league. James had a family issue. Both are expected here Saturday.
Their close friend Chris Paul, president of the Players Association and here for union meetings, voiced his displeasure with how Charles Oakley was treated by the Knicks and supported Anthony as he deals with trade rumors and Phil Jackson’s treatment of him.
“Melo is like my brother,” Paul said. “Anything affecting him, at times it can affect me. I can’t speak for his team or what’s going on there, but it’s probably not beneficial when you’re talking about your players in the paper.”
The Clippers point guard was referring to Jackson’s tweets and the perception that some recent articles about Anthony were from Jackson or people close to him.
Anthony’s relationship with James and Paul has led to speculation that he could agree to waive his no-trade clause, although Anthony said earlier this week, “I never thought I would be anywhere else.” Paul wouldn’t bite on whether he would like to see Anthony in a different uniform. “I want Melo to be happy,” he said.
Paul, out after thumb surgery, was watching the Knicks-Clippers game last week and said it was difficult to see Oakley removed from his seat and dragged out. The way the Knicks ended their official statement about the incident — “we hope he gets some help soon” — also bothered him.
“I know Oak personally, so that was real tough to watch,” Paul said. “To hear them say they hope Oak is going to get some help, like he was mentally ill or something, that was tough. Since I’ve come into the NBA, we talk about looking out for younger players. Oak has been a guy who’s always checked on me, injury or anything like that. So to see him treated in that fashion in that arena was tough.’’
Union executive director Michele Roberts said she’s been a Knicks fan most of her life. She said that because criminal charges are pending, she can’t get involved, but added that she’s praying. “I welled up when I saw what happened to Oak,” Roberts said. “Of course I was affected by that.”
Players have spoken out about how Anthony has been treated by Jackson and especially how the Oakley situation could impact free agents considering the Knicks.
“It’s kind of self-evident,” Cavs forward James Jones said.
Warriors All-Star forward Draymond Green has been outspoken about Oakley. He initially said Knicks owner James Dolan has “a slave master mentality” for how he’s treated him. Green backtracked Thursday: “It came off the wrong way.”
Green also said he doesn’t “know a free agent that would want to go there.” Green backtracked a little more Friday but said he supports Oakley.
“I don’t really know everyone else’s opinions,” he said. “I’m in the locker room with 14 guys. I know their views because we talk a lot. But I don’t know everyone else’s.”
On Oakley, he said: “It’s a brotherhood at the end of the day. Former players, players today . . . We look at this as a fraternity . . . We don’t take that for granted. It means a lot. It’s important that guys stick together.”