In advance of a Thursday night matchup against his old team, Carmelo Anthony spoke this week about the trade that sent him from the Thunder to the Knicks, with both Marc Stein of The New York Times and Fred Kerber of The New York Post passing along the forward’s thoughts. While Anthony says he holds “no grudge” against the Knicks, he acknowledges he wasn’t thrilled with the way Phil Jackson handled his situation earlier this year, calling Jackson’s behavior “hurtful.”
“I was always … going to put my trust in Phil,” Anthony said, per Kerber. “That diminished after a while. I’m out here doing everything I can, and I’m still getting stabbed in the back. I’m not trusting in that anymore. I’m trusting in these guys (teammates) that are out here. Whoever’s out here, this is who I’m dealing with.”
As Anthony explains to Stein, he had a nagging sense that Jackson was trying to force him out of New York, which dampened his devotion to the Knicks. Jackson – who was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips,” according to Carmelo – was eventually ousted as the club’s president of basketball operations. At that point, the Knicks went, in Anthony’s words, “from asking for peanuts to asking for steak” in trade talks.
With Jackson gone and Steve Mills and Scott Perry taking a harder line in trade negotiations, the odds of a deal with the Rockets declined. Still, Anthony felt that bridges had been burned in New York, and remained committed to finding a trade that worked.
“I think at that point it was too far gone,” Anthony said. “I already had in my mind that I wanted to win, that I wanted to move on. We didn’t think it would take as long as it did, but my mind was already made up.”
As for his eventual destination, Anthony admits to Stein that his 10-year-old son Kiran was among those who sold him on Oklahoma City as his new NBA home.
“My son has a basketball mind,” Anthony said. “So I will always throw little topics at him. He was like, ‘Dad, where you getting traded to?’ I told him, ‘I don’t know, where do you think I should go?’ He said: ‘You really want me to give you my opinion? I think you should go to OKC.'”