Melo dismisses suggestions in recent article that players don’t want to play alongside Bryant…
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has insisted that he did not turn down the Los Angeles Lakers this summer because he didn’t want to play with Kobe Bryant.
Anthony chose to stay in New York and signed a new five-year deal worth $124m with the Knicks, despite visiting the likes of the Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets in free agency.
While he was greeted with chants of “MVP” from the Madison Square Garden crowd as the Knicks held an open practice on Sunday afternoon, Melo revealed that he was “just more comfortable” staying in New York rather than upping and leaving for La-La Land.
“Hell no. Of course not,” Anthony said.
“If I thought that [playing for the Lakers] was the right situation for me from an overall perspective as far as having a team there, then I would have looked at that situation more in-depth. I just felt more comfortable staying here in New York. But as far as playing with him … I’m here now but I would always love to play with Kobe.”
A recent article in ‘ESPN The Magazine’ quoted several agents and NBA personnel suggesting that the Lakers have been unable to attract top stars in free agency because they don’t want to work with Bryant.
Team president Jeanie Buss hit back and defended the veteran guard by labelling those that don’t want to play alongside him as “losers” earlier this week, but it is clear that Anthony doesn’t fall within that group.
Nevertheless, the 30-year-old went on to discuss facing the Bulls on opening night, and he insists that he will not look across the court and wonder what might have been alongside the likes of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
“No, my mindset is not even there right now,” Anthony said.
“I am focused on building this thing in New York. I can’t go out there and be kind of worried about them and saying, ‘This is what I could have been.’ I got to worry about my own situation here.”
Melo will be a key part of the rebuilding process with the Knicks under new coach Derek Fisher, but the first obstacle that they will have to overcome is getting to grips with the triangle offense which has caused some level of uncertainty in the off-season.