Carmelo Anthony is abandoning the triangle offense, he joked on Thursday, at least when he coaches a team of celebrities during All-Star weekend in New York.
But the eight-time All-Star is fully embracing his role of “ambassador” at next weekend’s festivities and says he will try to use the NBA showcase event to sell future free agents — such as Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge this summer and Kevin Durant in 2016 — on joining him and Phil Jackson with the rebuilding Knicks.
“I hope so. I hope so,” Anthony said after practice ahead of Friday’s game in Brooklyn. “For the most part I think guys pretty much know New York. Especially the guys like veteran guys who have been in the league for a long time that come in and out of New York.
“People come here in the summer time, in the offseason, they spend time here. When they come to play, they spend time being out and about and just experiencing different things. I am pretty sure people already know New York. It is just a matter of kind of knowing and learning the Knicks organization at that point in time.”
Anthony similarly was recruited by his fellow All-Stars in anticipation of his own free agency last summer; he entertained offers from Chicago, the Lakers, Houston and Dallas before returning to the Knicks on a five-year, $ 124 million deal.
“That was kind of the talk of All-Star weekend last year. . . just, I’ve had that experience maybe twice now — last year and then the one in L.A. a couple of years back right before I got (traded) to New York,” Anthony said. “Now it’s my turn. Now it’s my turn to extend the favor.
“First of all I think it will create some great momentum here in the city just by having All-Star weekend in New York. The energy that will be surrounding the city kind of starting on Monday, Tuesday, all through the week. And just for me to kind of be that ambassador for the city for the weekend, that means a lot. That I can represent New York here in my hometown. Kind of welcome everybody here to have a good time for the weekend.”
Of course, the Brookyn-born Anthony and the Knicks are in the midst of a terrible season, entering Friday’s game against the Nets with a 10-39 mark before hosting West-leading Golden State. But Anthony doesn’t believe the Knicks’ shoddy record will take any luster away from his status among the league’s other stars.
“Nah. At the end of the day it’s still an achievement, still an accomplishment. I can’t go into that weekend thinking about what we’ve been going through our regular season with the Knicks,” he said. “It’s just a moment to kind of get away from that for a minute and just enjoy that weekend, and after that weekend, I’ll get back into the flow of things.
“I think everybody will be on their own kind of zone on All-Star weekend. The real effect that they will feel will be during the game here at the Garden, kind of seeing what the Garden has to offer, not just for the New York Knicks but for everything. And that is a big moment — that Sunday in the All-Star Game. So the Garden will be lit up, it will be bright, there will be a lot of people in there, it will be loud and it will be exciting. So for other players to see that, I am pretty sure that will be impressive.”
Anthony will join famed Knick fan Spike Lee as a coach in the Celebrity Game — which will feature Mo’ne Davis, Common, Chris Mullin, Knicks executive Allan Houston, Kevin Hart, Win Butler and others. He claimed his coaching style will be “cool, calm and collected. . . like Fish,” although he doesn’t plan to run the triangle system that Jackson and Derek Fisher have installed this season.
“We don’t have enough time for the celebrities to run the triangle,” Anthony joked. “It’s just get them out there and go. They’re celebrities. All celebrities feel like they think they know how to play basketball. Some of them are pretty good.”
BACK ON D: The Knicks sent little-used rookie Cleanthony Early back to D-League Westchester, where he will play Friday against Delaware.
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