- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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And the more the Knicks lost, the worse Martin felt for Carmelo Anthony.
Martin played eight-plus seasons alongside Anthony in Denver and New York, and he knows his former teammate isn't built for rebuilding.
"I feel bad for him," said Martin, who recently looked back on his career with ESPN.com. "He cares and wants to win and to be put in a situation like that with that kind of talent, he don't deserve to be a part of a rebuilding process by any stretch of the imagination."
Shortly after the Knicks drafted 19-year-old Latvian Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick, Anthony expressed displeasure about Phil Jackson's pick in a phone conversation with Tim Hardaway Jr., sources confirmed to ESPN. The conversation was first reported by the New York Daily News.
Hardaway Jr. was traded on draft night to pick Notre Dame point guard Jerian Grant. Anthony later expressed excitement over seeing what Porzingis can do.
Still, Anthony is so far removed from the first season he and Martin were reunited in New York late in 2012-13. The Knicks won 54 games before losing in the Eastern Conference semifinals to Indiana that season. The following season, the Knicks won just 37 games. Jackson was hired and the team was stripped down with Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Amar'e Stoudemire all moving on last year.
Anthony re-signed with the Knicks for $124 million over five years last summer and his first season of the new contract was a disaster, ending with a left knee surgery.
"I hope they can get it together for him this year," Martin said. "Because you can let go and sit back and be quiet about it."
As for those who say Anthony is not a winning-type of star to build around, Martin defended his former teammate.
"Everybody has an opinion," Martin said. "Everybody got one and they all stink. I think I have spent the most time of anybody on one team (with Anthony). We spent like eight years of our careers together. He wants to win. One of the most competitive people I have been around.
"I was having a conversation with a few people the other day about going to the NBA is all about having dog in you and who has got that dog in him. And our list is very, very short. But he's on it. It's in him. He wants to win. The situation hasn't been ideal, but I hope they get it together."
Martin recently announced his retirement to Yahoo! Sports. He reflected on his Nets career, how beating the Knicks in their only playoff encounter in 2004 was sweet and what it was like to become a Knick later in his career.
"It was cool," said Martin, who played in 50 total games during his final two seasons with the Knicks in 2012-13 and 2013-14. "You always welcome a chance to put on a Knicks uniform or a Lakers uniform and play for a storied franchise.
"Just to be able to be a Knick, it was special to see the way the fans appreciated me, my game (despite) me being a former Net. But they respected basketball and the way I played the game and that meant a lot to me."