Sam SpiegelmanSpeculation about Carmelo Anthony’s future is well underway, and after the New York Knicks’ victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night, one of his longtime teammates weighed in on the subject.
Asked his feelings about Anthony’s free agency, J.R. Smith said he wasn’t worried about his longtime teammate leaving.
“In my heart, I believe he’ll still be here,” Smith, who played the last seven seasons with ‘Melo dating back to Denver, told ESPN New York. “It’s just a matter of him coming up with that decision. Whatever it is, we’re still going to be friends ’til our dying days, so I mean, whether he’s on my team or he isn’t, I still love him like a brother.”
With the Knicks falling out of playoff contention last week, all attention has shifted onto what Anthony’s future holds. He’s been linked to the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers via rumors, though new Knicks president has stated he believes Anthony is a part of the team’s future.
The Bulls have seemingly surfaced as the frontrunner for Anthony.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau “would love to add Anthony” to the roster. Anthony and Thibodeau share an agent, and the coach has already refuted claims that Anthony is a selfish ball-stopper.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Anthony was asking what it was like to play under Thibs. Prior to the team’s game against Chicago, Anthony had nothing but praise for the Bulls coach — who is defensive-minded, by the way — but it’s nothing over the top or overly obvious.
“(The Bulls) have a great coach and system,” Anthony said. “It’s like Gregg Popovich’s system. You can put anyone in the system and it’s going to work. Guys have been in and out of the lineup and they still get it done.”
Anthony said those factors will surely be considered when he becomes a free agent, but he also said he won’t dwell on the Knicks’ disappointing 2013-14 season.
It’s been Anthony’s plan all along to exercise his player option this offseason. It’s just a coincidence that this was the first season in his career that his team failed to make the postseason.
“All this stuff will come into consideration, but I won’t never make it seem like because of this season I’m going to become a free agent. It has nothing to do with this season went,’’ Anthony said. “Even if we had the greatest of a season I probably would still be in that situation.’’