After the Portland Trail Blazers moved on from him, Carmelo Anthony considered a reunion with the New York Knicks.
In Chris Hayne’s podcast on Monday, Anthony revealed that moving back to New York was among his options in the free agency before the Los Angeles Lakers offer came along.
“It was (hard) because I had just moved and bought a house in New York, Anthony said. “It was unexpected. My son starts school (today) in New York. So it was like, I’m here, I’m home. I never expected the Lakers to call.”
While Anthony said he’s been spending summertime in Los Angeles for more than a decade now, moving his family there never crossed his mind.
Anthony, a Brooklyn native, spent some of his prime years with the Knicks and led the team to the playoffs in 2013.
The Lakers were the Knicks’ rivals during their two championship runs in the 70s. The spotlights of Broadway and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood made them the two biggest markets in the NBA.
“I don’t know if I was ready to do that because that’s a big shift. When you wear the purple and gold, that’s different. Even in New York, when you wear the blue and orange, that’s blood. That runs deep. It’s the same way as the purple and gold. It’s just at different sides of the country,” Anthony said.
Anthony said he was in constant communication with Portland’s stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. He was waiting for the Trail Blazers’ call that never came. So he thought he’d move back to the east coast.
“I made [Portland] almost like a home for me. Within two years, I felt like I was a part of that community,” Anthony said. “New York was always there. Coming back to New York was always a story. I’ve always told my son when he goes to high school, I’ll be right there with you. The New York thing made sense.”
Anthony would have added more firepower to the Knicks’ bench that already has Derrick Rose and the pair of electrifying sophomores Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin.
Aside from the Knicks, the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Orleans Pelicans also showed interest.
“I didn’t really get a chance to really converse with Philly, but there was interest there,” Anthony said.
He then revealed that Philadelphia’s stars Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris reached out to him, but he never had the chance to talk to them as the Lakers scooped him up before the Sixers did.
The opportunity to chase a ring with his good friend LeBron James and Anthony Davis was too good to pass up, but it was never an easy decision.
“Having a great chance to win [was what made me decide to join the Lakers]. It took me some days to really like sit down and kind of break it down and really dig deep into making that decision,” Anthony said.
“To most people, it probably would have been an easy decision to make. But to me, it wasn’t. I really have to align a lot of things and put things in order for things to work out, for me to feel comfortable to be away from my family for another year and the kids not being there. People don’t understand that part. That’s the hardest part. The basketball (part) is easy.”
Anthony was linked to the Knicks when his former agent Leon Rose became the team’s president. But the former Knicks star said the interest wasn’t mutual.
“At this point, it wasn’t really a lot [of consideration],’’ Anthony said in the summer of 2020. “The Knicks were making moves and were trying to figure out the direction they wanted to go in. They weren’t done making moves. I’m sure they have a plan. I don’t think me coming in and trying to mess their plan up was good for either party.”
“They are rebuilding and figuring out what’s in their near future. It was me personally wanting to be part of a situation I was already comfortable with. I just finished playing with these guys two, three months ago. I felt it was the right fit at this point of time where I’m at right now this particular year.’’
Then the Knicks made a surprising run to the playoffs and have positioned themselves to make another serious run this season with the addition of four-time All-Star Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier.
What a difference a year makes.
The Knicks suddenly became an attractive destination to Anthony again until Hollywood pulled him away from home.
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