NEW ORLEANS — Kyle Lowry is good friends with Carmelo Anthony, shares an agent with Kristaps Porzingis, and he will be a free agent this summer. But that doesn’t mean Lowry will consider the Knicks.
Toronto’s All-Star point guard will be a sought-after player. The safe bet is that Lowry will re-sign with the Raptors. They can pay him the most money and he’s their best player. Beyond that, Lowry is very aware of how Anthony has been treated by team president Phil Jackson, and that could deter him from wanting to play for the Knicks.
“You see it but you don’t lock into it,” Lowry said. “You look at it when the time comes. Right now, I’m so worried about my season. You see it, but you don’t immerse yourself into it. You have a lot going on, so you say, ‘I’ll get back to that when I have time to get back to it.’ ”
A popular theme over All-Star Weekend has been whether top-flight free agents would consider the Knicks after another drama-filled and — to this point — losing season.
Chris Paul will be free this summer also, but he has spoken out about Anthony’s situation, and how the Knicks have handled the Charles Oakley incident. So you can probably scratch Paul off the Knicks’ wish list. There’s more of a possibility of Anthony joining Paul with the Clippers whether it’s by Thursday’s trade deadline or over the summer.
One possibility for the Knicks is New Orleans point guard Jrue Holiday, whose brother is Knicks backup swing man Justin Holiday.
Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings also will be free agents, but they’re among the Knicks who could be on the move before Thursday’s deadline. If not, they may not return, anyway. Both want to play for winning teams, and the Knicks are expected to shake up the roster again.
As for Lowry, it’s hard to foresee him leaving a team that reached the conference finals last year and expects to have a long run this year for one that could miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season. But Lowry is a big fan of Anthony’s and lauded how he’s carried himself this season.
“I think Melo is handling it tremendously,” Lowry said. “I think he’s handling it like a professional. He’s handled it fantastically, and he’s playing well. At the end of the day, he’s an All-Star and there’s a reason for everything. He’s handled it fantastically.”
When Anthony was named as an injury replacement for Kevin Love, he became the oldest player in this All-Star Game at 32 years, 9 months. That made LeBron James happy. He’s five months younger than Anthony.
“It was a breath of fresh air when I’d seen Melo,” James said of his good pal, “because I see I’m not the oldest guy on this team anymore.”
Lowry joked that Anthony, who was excused from Friday’s Media Day, missed the event because he couldn’t get out of bed without help.
“He probably needs to put some icy hot on his knees to get out of bed,” Lowry said. “He’s old. Tell him I said that. Old Melo. He’s the oldest player at the All-Star Game. Make sure you remind him of that. Make sure you tell him I said that.”
Porzingis’ All-Star future
After winning the Skills Competition, Porzingis said he wouldn’t mind being in another All-Star Saturday Night event in the future. He dismissed the Slam Dunk contest. “For sure, not,” he said. But Porzingis would give the three-point contest a shot.
“Maybe one day three-pointers,” he said. “This league has too many like really good three-point shooters. If I feel like I can win, I’ll participate.”
Porzingis, who scored 24 in the Rising Stars Challenge, said he hopes these experiences get him “a step closer to achieving my dream, which is becoming an All-Star one day.”
Before Porzingis took home the Skills Competition trophy, the last time the Knicks won anything on All-Star Saturday was in 2012 when Allan Houston, Landry Fields and Cappie Pondexter won the Shooting Stars contest in Orlando.
The best part of All-Star Saturday was the way the NBA and TNT honored late sideline reporter Craig Sager, who lost his battle to cancer late in 2016. NBA stars and entertainers shot three-pointers and half-court shots to raise money for the Sager Strong Foundation. They raised $500,000.
It ended with Shaquille O’Neal lifting Sager’s young son Ryan to score the last basket.