WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) The longer Carmelo Anthony plays, the further he’s gotten from a championship.
A player who had never missed the postseason in his first 10 seasons has been on two straight losing teams, and these New York Knicks aren’t expected to compete for a title.
Don’t tell that to Anthony.
“We’re competing,” he said Wednesday. “I mean, people might not believe that, but we’re definitely competing for that. That’s always going to be the goal. Whether we get there or not, it depends on us and what we do and how we do it, but that’s always our big-picture goal.”
Perhaps that’s why Anthony appears so patient.
He’s 31 years old, an age when few top players are interested in a gradual building process. But Anthony doesn’t seem disappointed or dispirited, and he certainly hasn’t been demanding – at least, not publicly.
“What I see in Melo is how he feels personally, good or bad, about anything, I think he will say it if he feels like he needs to say it, but when he doesn’t feel like it needs to be said, or people publicly need to know what he’s feeling or how he’s thinking, he doesn’t say it,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. “And I think that says a lot about who he is.”
Kobe Bryant threw a fit in 2007 when the Lakers had fallen from title contention and even indicated he wanted out of Los Angeles. Dwyane Wade made it clear in 2009 after Miami couldn’t get out of the first round that the Heat better get him some help in South Florida.
Bryant said a couple of years ago that Anthony may need to follow his example, be so pushy that management can’t ignore him. But Anthony can’t, or won’t.
“That’s just me,” he said after practice at the U.S. Military Academy. “It’s hard for me to kind of lose my patience and get upset about something that pretty much you can’t control. Only thing I can control is what goes on on the basketball court. Everything else is out of my control.”
He has repeatedly denied reports he was angry with the Knicks’ selection of Latvian Kristaps Porzingis with the No. 4 pick in the draft. He hoped the Knicks could’ve landed one of the big prizes in free agency but seems committed to working with the newcomers they did get, organizing workouts in Puerto Rico in August that were attended by eight teammates.
“It makes you really feel like you’re part of the team, especially when the best player and a vet really invites you to come join him on a trip like that,” rookie Jerian Grant said.
Perhaps during those workouts Anthony developed a belief that the Knicks will be better than expected. Maybe he’s simply OK if they aren’t. Either way, no temper tantrum appears imminent.
“Some guys kind of like the storm or the stir that comes from saying something publicly,” Fisher said. “Other guys – not Melo – other guys around the league are for sure signaling to management what they want and what they need.
“So I don’t think he’s just biding his time because he enjoys New York City. I think he wants to win. He’s won a championship before as a player in college and he wants to win one as a pro.”
For now, Anthony is content to just be playing again. He made it through a career-low 40 games last season before knee surgery and said the time off helped put things in perspective.
“He’s put a ton of work in to get to this point,” Fisher said, “and I would assume that he’s happy with where he is right now.”