- Jeff Goodman, ESPN Insider
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LAS VEGAS -- Carmelo Anthony has been staying out of the spotlight, trying to maintain a low profile while the Knicks made personnel moves to keep the team competitive enough -- and also make certain their star forward is happy enough to remain in New York beyond this season.
“I’ve been staying under the radar,” Anthony told ESPN.com while in Las Vegas coaching his Team Melo summer program. “I let them do what they do. We got [Metta World Peace], and I think [Andrea] Bargnani was really a steal for us. He’ll help us spread the floor. We got J.R. [Smith] back and we kept the core guys together.”
The Knicks were 54-28 last season and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals -- where they lost to the Indiana Pacers. Anthony has two more years on his current contract, but can opt out and become a free agent after this season.
New York dealt Steve Novak, Marcus Camby and two draft picks -- including a first-rounder in 2016 -- to acquire the much-maligned Bargnani, the No. 1 draft pick in 2006. The Knicks also signed Metta World Peace to a two-year deal after he was amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers, inked J.R. Smith to a three-year contract worth about $6 million per season and brought Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin back.
However, Anthony watched the team across town, the Brooklyn Nets, go out and pull off the blockbuster trade of the offseason, acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from Boston in return for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks and a trio of first-round draft picks. Brooklyn also hired his former teammate, Jason Kidd, as its head coach fresh off of retirement.
“We’ll see whether we have enough,” Anthony said. “We haven’t even stepped on the court yet.”
“It’s special what [Brooklyn] did,” he added. “J-Kidd will have four or five future Hall of Famers. I played with him for a year and also with USA Basketball and I know his mentality. He knows the game. It won’t be hard for him to deal with those guys because he’ll put them in position and only have to tell them things one time.”
Anthony recently turned 29. He won a national championship with Syracuse in 2003, has been an NBA All-Star on six occasions and won the scoring title this past year. However, he’s never won an NBA title.
Will this season determine whether he remains in New York long-term?
“I can’t do that,” Anthony said. “It’s too tough right now.”
1hIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer