- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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So much so that Martin said confidently of a guy he has been teammates with in Denver and New York: "Personally, I can't see him going anywhere else."
"It's the city man," Martin said of why Anthony won't leave New York. "If he don't know that by now ... people out here love him, it's home for him, his birthplace. Don't have to do any convincing."
Being the superstar, the main draw to play on the Madison Square Garden stage is as intoxicating a draw as any. And of course, there are 129 million more reasons if he opts out and re-signs with the Knicks next summer.
But the Knicks can't chance anything. With sincere apologies to Deron Williams, Anthony is the biggest free agent the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area has had since the summer of Jason Kidd in 2003.
All signs point to Anthony wanting to stay. He's not discussing his future, but the defending scoring champ appears to genuinely enjoy it here and being the man in New York.
But a decade earlier, the same could be said for Kidd. Kidd was the toast of the area as he molded the Nets into a title contender. He felt a loyalty to the Nets, loved being in the metropolitan area and seemed pretty sure he was staying until he went on a recruiting trip to San Antonio. He returned from Texas torn before finally making the decision to remain with the Nets.
Point is anything can happen once a star opts out of his contract. Other teams, and more importantly other stars, will attempt to lure Anthony away if opts out in this Super Friends era of NBA basketball.
All Anthony has to do is listen, and then he could be like Kidd a decade ago, feeling like his decision was up in the air like a jump ball with Tim Duncan on one side and the Nets on the other.
The Knicks don't want that walking-on-pins-and-needles feeling Rod Thorn had during the summer of '03. That's why they have to do all they can this season even if it means moving heaven and Earth which is what they probably will have to do to obtain another star.
As it is now, the Knicks might be the fifth-best team in the East behind Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn and Chicago. They won 54 games and were the second seed last year, but they likely are no longer even the best team in New York with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce now residing in Brooklyn.
The Knicks' biggest moves of the summer were Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace and re-signing J.R. Smith. They surprisingly hired Steve Mills to be the team president and general manager, perhaps hoping the personable Mills will be able to lure other free agents when the Knicks have cap space. And the Knicks picked up Mike Woodson's option, something that likely got Carmelo's approval.
But they need to do more. While Derrick Rose is making his return to full strength in Chicago, Amar'e Stoudemire repeatedly talked on Monday about recently having another "minor" surgery in an attempt to prolong his career with his aching knees.
The Knicks' second-best offensive player is Smith, an explosive shooter better suited to being a complimentary weapon. Adding another young star -- even one who is a slight notch below Anthony -- will require crafty maneuvering with either Stoudemire's, Tyson Chandler's or Bargnani's contracts.
It won't be easy, and, heck, Anthony might end up staying even if there are no major upgrades as Martin and Raymond Felton believe.
"I know there's been a lot of talk this summer saying that he's going to go to the Lakers, he's leaving New York," Felton said in a camera interview with ESPN. "He's not going nowhere. Melo loves it here. He loves it."
That all might be true. Melo probably wants to remain a Knick for life. But he certainly doesn't want to remain a guy who scores a boat load of points on the fifth-best team in the East for years to come.