Ron Artest wants Melo with Knicks

NEW YORK -- Queens native Ron Artest wants to see Carmelo Anthony in a Knicks uniform.

"I hope they get him," the Lakers forward said before his team took on the Knicks Friday night.

Artest quickly put his hand over his mouth, saying "Well, I'm not promoting it."

Artest, an unabashed Knicks fan, said he hopes coach Mike D'Antoni's team "continue(s) to do well. I hope one day they make the championship. I would love to play against New York in the championship."

Maybe he would guard Carmelo in that hypothetical Finals matchup?

"We'll see what happens," Artest said. "I've been guarding the best player for the last 12 years. I have to guard him."

The Knicks have made multiple offers to the Denver Nuggets to acquire Anthony through a trade this season. One recent proposal reported by ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard had New York sending Wilson Chandler to Denver and Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota. The Timberwolves would ship Corey Brewer and a first-round pick to Denver.

A Timberwolves source told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher on Sunday that the team would not approve of the deal in those terms.

Broussard also reported that the Lakers and Nuggets have discussed a deal involving Anthony and Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

Anthony hasn't signed a three-year, $65 million contract extension that the Nuggets offered in the offseason. Anthony said on Wednesday that he would consider signing the offer if he isn't traded by the Feb. 24 deadline.

Artest, who grew up in Queens and played college hoops at St. John's University, said he still roots for the Knicks -- when they aren't facing the Lakers.

"I follow the Knicks all the time," he said. "Obviously when I come in here I like to crush them. But when they do bad I be like, 'Come on, let's go New York.'"

The veteran forward's name recently surfaced in trade rumors but he insisted on Friday that he's content in his role with the Lakers.

He also defended himself to critics who claim he has struggled at times on the defensive end this season.

"I'm locking down the top scorers, whether they're No. 1, 2 or 3. They're the face of the NBA," Artest said. "They're great scorers and after they play against me, they look pretty damn average."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.