NEW YORK (CBSLA.com/AP) — Carmelo Anthony should focus on trying to get players to join him in New York, not creating uncertainty about whether he would leave.
That’s the opinion of TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, who are disappointed by Anthony’s desire to become a free agent after this season.
“He owns the city, he should be trying to get guys to come here and not like `I’ll stay here a couple of years — I forced my way here, No. 1, I got here, now I want to leave.’ That’s just not cool at all to be honest with you,” Barkley said Monday.
Anthony has never said he wants to leave New York. He just said he wants to experience free agency when he can opt out of his contract this summer.
That’s the wisest move financially, as long as he then signs another long-term deal with the Knicks. But as long as he refuses to commit to staying in New York, it creates doubt about whether that’s his plan.
“What he should say is, `The Knicks have to, they’re going to give me the max. I’m going to be in New York.”‘ Smith said.
Barkley and Smith, along with Shaquille O’Neal and host Ernie Johnson, spoke at a lunch the day before their “Inside the NBA” pregame show will take place outdoors in New York before the opening night of the regular season.
Smith, a New York native, said the Knicks need to get to a point where players would take less money because they want to come to the city to play with Anthony.
“What happened to the law of attraction?” Smith said. “Like, you’re good enough where you can attract guys that want to play with you. And that’s what’s missing, I think from the Knicks, and I think what’s missing from Carmelo, is just the law of attraction. Like, there aren’t a lot of guys saying they want to come to New York and play here with this guy.”
The Knicks acquired Anthony in February 2011, months after he told the Denver Nuggets he wanted a trade to New York. He topped the league in scoring last season, leading the Knicks to their first Atlantic Division title since 1994, but O’Neal said he can do even more.
“Carmelo, to me, needs to stop being satisfied with being mentioned after LeBron,” O’Neal said.
Barkley said the Knicks could be good this season, but that with players such as Metta World Peace and J.R. Smith, they could “implode” if things went poorly.
Either way, the focus will be on Anthony once it’s over. Smith noted how Dwight Howard took less than he would have received from the Lakers to go play in Houston, and said other players need to view teaming with Anthony the way Howard did with James Harden.
“Once that happens, who doesn’t want to be in this city? Who doesn’t want to come here?” Smith said.
Among other teams, there has been speculation that Los Angeles could be a favored landing spot for Anthony, should he enter free agency. The Lakers, meanwhile, will likely be in the market for at least one player of Anthony’s caliber, with the career of star Kobe Bryant approaching a conclusion.
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