Melo brushes off Oakley criticism

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
4:52
PM ET
Carmelo Anthony was carefree, content and quick to smile during a chat with reporters on Friday.

Basically, he looked exactly like a player who had just won an Olympic gold medal.

"I'm just trying to enjoy this moment," he said.

So when a reporter mentioned Charles Oakley's recent criticism of Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks' star lightly dismissed the critique.

"I didn't really hear exactly what he said, but at this point it really doesn't matter," Anthony said.

Oakley, an ex-Knick, said earlier this month that Anthony and Stoudemire "don't make the people around them better."

Perhaps bolstering Oakley's point: Since Anthony came to New York midway through the 2010-11 season, the Knicks have a sub-.500 record when both he and Stoudemire are in the lineup.

Anthony said Friday that he wouldn't be paying attention to any criticisms this season. Which, by the way, is probably what you want to hear if you are a Knick fan. You don't want your star player wrapped up in the daily critiques of the media.

"Everything that you do, whether it's good or bad, somebody's going to say something about it," Anthony said at his ProCamps youth hoops camp on Friday at St. John's. "But my mentality, my mindset is to play ball, not worry about what nobody says and just have fun and enjoy it."

ANTHONY ON THE ATLANTIC DIVISION: The Nets re-signed Deron Williams and acquired Joe Johnson. The Sixers traded for Andrew Bynum. The Celtics lost Ray Allen but added Jason Terry. There's no doubt that the Atlantic Division will have a decidedly different -- and better -- look this season.

"It is what it is," Anthony said when asked about the division. "It makes it that much more fun. Brooklyn got better. Philly got better with Bynum. Boston is Boston. We'll see what happens. We're worrying about ourselves."

To that end, Anthony was complimentary of Knicks GM Glen Grunwald's offseason moves. The Knicks re-signed J.R. Smith and Steve Novak and brought in Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Ronnie Brewer and Kurt Thomas, among others.

"I'm excited about what we were able to do this offseason to put that team together, put a veteran team together," Anthony said. "Guys that already know how to play the game, that have been through wars, that know how to win. So it's just a matter of putting it all together."

As far as any rivalry with the Nets, whom the Knicks face in the season opener on Nov. 1, Anthony said that will have to develop on the court.

"There's no rivalry between us and Brooklyn right now, unless it starts in that first game. We'll see what happens in that first game," he said. "But as of right now, we're focused on ourself. We're not really focused on nobody else."

ON PLAYING POWER FORWARD: Anthony had success playing power forward late last season when Stoudemire was sidelined with a back injury.

In 13 games starting at power forward, Anthony averaged 30 points per 36 minutes on 50.5 percent shooting, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

When asked about playing more power forward this season, Anthony said, "I'm a wingman and everyone knows that. But it's an extra incentive that I can play the four position. It gives us more weapons and more flexibility."

ON JEREMY LIN: Anthony was asked by a reporter if former PG Jeremy Lin had anything to be "scared of" when the Knicks face Houston, Lin's new team, this season. (The Rockets first come to the Garden on Dec. 17).

"No, not at all. I don't play against him," Anthony said. "I don't guard him so he doesn't have nothing to be scared of."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.0 3.2 0.9 36.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.2
StealsP. Prigioni 1.3
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2