Carmelo Anthony thinks Knicks' Leon Rose regime deserves more credit

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Carmelo Anthony in white Lakers uniform
Carmelo Anthony in white Lakers uniform

These days, when Carmelo Anthony returns to Madison Square Garden, (most?) Knicks fans give him a long, loud ovation.

“That love is different. That fan base is different for me. It goes deeper than basketball. They embrace me. I embrace them,” Anthony said Monday as he and the Los Angeles Lakers prepared to play at the Garden on Tuesday.

“I don’t think the bond between myself and New York City will ever go anywhere. That’s why I embrace it the way I do. I’m looking forward to [Tuesday]. The crowd — the Knicks are playing great basketball. They have good energy up there. We know how [Tom Thibodeau] teams are. They’re a very tough team. We know we have to come in and put our hard hat on [Tuesday] night. It will be great to get a win at the Garden. I’ll tell you that.”

Anthony is averaging 15 points per game and hitting 46 percent of his threes for the Lakers.

Because of his history with the Knicks and his relationship with team president Leon Rose, there will always be speculation about Anthony one day returning to the franchise.

But the speculation is grounded in fact. Back in 2019, when then-team president Steve Mills was preparing for the offseason, the Knicks gave significant consideration to signing Anthony.

There was mutual interest between New York and Anthony in both the 2020 and 2021 offseasons.

It’s way too early to even speculate about a 2022-23 reunion. But as long as Rose is president and Anthony is a free agent, you can be sure that both sides will at least consider the possibility.

On Monday, Anthony was asked for his opinion on how Rose and his group have built the team.

Anthony said that Rose – his former player agent at CAA -- deserves more recognition for his work with the Knicks.

"It’s very hard to come in and do what they’re doing, what they started, what they created as far as starting from the ground up," the 19-year veteran said. "When I say that, it’s getting everything out, clearing everything out, bringing in the right people. But not doing it in a frantic way, not doing it in [by] taking advantage of power. It’s just coming in, talking to people, getting to know people, understanding people, understanding what was happening before and being able to clean that up and build on that. I think people need to talk about that a lot more.

“That’s a very difficult task coming in for somebody who was an agent prior to being a president of the New York Knicks. That’s a big task so I’ll tip my hat off to those guys for what they’ve accomplished, what they’ve established so far.”

Anthony maintains a home in New York. His son, Kiyan, attends Christ The King high school in Queens and plays basketball at the CHSAA powerhouse. So whether he eventually returns to the Knicks or not, the ties to New York will always be there for Anthony.

“This is home," Anthony said. "My family’s here, my son is in school here. I live here. So, outside of that, coming back to New York, understanding our fan base here, the city, the love I have here in this city. What I was able to represent when I was here is kinda bigger than basketball. Bigger than sports. I embrace that. People that’s here knows that and understands that.

"It’s a feeling that’s hard to explain unless you’re here and you’re actually feeling that energy. It’s a lot different seeing it from the outside in. When you’re here, you feel that energy. It’s a big difference."

AMAR’E’s FAITH

Speaking of former Knicks, HBO’s Real Sports has an interesting look at Amar’e Stoudemire’s faith. The story, which airs on Tuesday night, includes detail of Stoudemire praying daily at an Orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn.