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SportsColumnistsAl Iannazzone

To lock up Carmelo Anthony, Knicks need to get another star

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony looks on against the

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony looks on against the New Orleans Pelicans in the second half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 1, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

In the past week, some influential people in Carmelo Anthony's life have talked about his future. Anthony was one of them. No one, right now, can say definitively what he will do.

It's not as cut-and-dried as Chris Bosh's situation when it was the NBA's worst-kept secret that he was leaving Toronto in 2010.

Anthony's heart is in New York and he wants to be the star to bring the Knicks their first title in more than 40 years. But nothing has changed from this standpoint: Anthony needs help.

The trade deadline is Feb. 20, and getting another star likely would make it an easy call for Anthony to stay. If not, the Knicks might have to make something happen by early July. He will be a free agent July 1.

Between now and then, Rajon Rondo or Kyrie Irving could become available. The Knicks might not have what it takes to get them, but acquiring some assets might be helpful.

Otherwise, the Knicks will have a boatload of money in the summer of 2015 when Rondo and Kevin Love become free agents.

Would Anthony want to wait until then? Would the Knicks' organization, which made winning a title this season the main objective, risk waiting with the hope they can put together a contender in 2015?

When Kobe Bryant visited the Garden with the Lakers last Sunday, he basically advised his good friend Anthony to kick and scream for help.

"It is important for the organization to understand the level of competitiveness that you have," Bryant said, "that you won't tolerate having a team that is not in contention for an NBA championship, which is what I did.

"It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but sometimes you got to kick down a few doors and [tick] some people off and trust that it will pay off in the long run. If you are willing to do that, more times than not, you will be OK."

Bryant said he didn't want to be viewed as just a scorer, which is what Anthony is considered.

"That is why I was so frustrated with this organization back in 2006 and 2007 because I didn't want to be known as a scorer," Bryant said. "I wanted to make sure I had a team around me that could contend for a championship."

The Lakers acquired Pau Gasol in 2008, reached three consecutive Finals and won back-to-back titles. So it worked for Bryant.

We know that Anthony's wife, LaLa, said, "I definitely think he will stay." But there is nothing definitive there. The most definitive thing came from Carmelo.

He said winning a championship is the only thing on his mind and that "anything else is irrelevant" and that he's "going to do what I've got to do to get it."

It might mean having to take less money, as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh did. It might mean taking Bryant's tack and putting pressure on the organization to shake up things. It might mean taking his talents somewhere else.

Only Anthony knows what he wants to do, and he probably doesn't know for sure right now.

Silver age of basketball

"Deputy" has been officially removed from Adam Silver's title. Silver is the NBA commissioner, succeeding David Stern, who left office Saturday. Mark Tatum, formerly the NBA's executive vice president of global marketing partnerships, is the new deputy commissioner.

KD for MVP

James is the NBA's best player, but Kevin Durant is the favorite to be named MVP right now. The Thunder forward averaged 35.9 points in January, leading OKC to a 13-4 record -- including 10 straight wins -- without Russell Westbrook.

To put Durant's month in perspective, he scored more points in January than every Knick other than Anthony and every Net other than Joe Johnson have scored in the entire season.

King's court

Bernard King, whose franchise scoring record was broken when Anthony scored 62 points last week, still owns three of the Knicks' top five marks. What does being "in the zone" feel like?

"You see the game differently," King said. "You can feel the seams in the defense. You don't have to look for it, you feel it. When you're in that zone, the basket becomes bigger. When you're in that zone, you feel like you're running on air and you run faster, and the execution of your moves become far more efficient and there's no limit to what you can do offensively.

"You read everything at a higher level. You already have a tremendous basketball IQ. But that IQ, that thought pattern, is taken to a higher level when you play in the zone."

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