After news surfaced that former Knick Carmelo Anthony was practicing with a group of Nets last August in Los Angeles, the rumor mill went into overdrive hyping the notion he would be the next superstar signed by the organization. As it turned out, the Nets completed their training-camp roster by signing a former Knicks forward on Friday, but it was Lance Thomas, not Anthony.
After spending most of the past five seasons with the Knicks, Thomas said he was grateful for the opportunity in Brooklyn, where he was born, and to be close to his family now living in New Jersey. “I think it’s going to be a very fun year,” Thomas said. “They got a lot of talented guys on the team, a lot of guys who are here to win.”
At the same time, Thomas admitted his surprise that Anthony has not yet signed with any NBA team. “I think he deserves to end up on a team,” Thomas said. “He’s given amazing basketball memories to the NBA, has affected almost every teammate he’s ever had in a positive way and always has a smile on his face. It’s unfortunate what’s happening, but you’re not going to take the smile off his face even if you tried.
“I think it’s the best his body has looked. He has his first step back. It looks like he’s having fun playing the game again.”
Thomas can play both forward positions and has a strong three-point shot and stressed his versatility as an asset. “I love to defend other team’s best players,” Thomas said. “So, that’s a skillset not many guys have, and it’s something I’ve embraced, and it’s gotten me to this point in my career.”
He’s in Nets black and white now, but Thomas said he’s “still a Knicks fan at heart,’ said his family still will attend Knicks games, and he lavished praise on owner James Dolan, team president Steve Mills general manager Scott Perry and coach David Fizdale.
“I had goosebumps every day I wore that uniform,” Thomas said. “I really regret not winning in that uniform. Being a local kid, every time I wore it, I wore it with pride.”