“I was so involved with creating a positive atmosphere around the Knicks,” Amar’e Stoudemire said before Miami’s 98-81 win in his first trip back to Madison Square Garden since being bought out last year. “Now it’s gone the opposite way.”
In a series of comments, Stoudemire appeared to take shots at Carmelo Anthony’s ability to carry the Knicks or to reverse their downward slide from a second-round playoff appearance three years ago. He also appeared to criticize Anthony for helping to drive Jeremy Lin out of town. I say “appeared” because Stoudemire never mentioned Anthony by name, and when told of his former teammate’s comments, Anthony insisted they couldn’t have been about him. But...you be the judge. (He was totally talking about Carmelo.)
“When you get involved in this situation, you have to take ownership of it,” Stoudemire said. “You have to make sure you made the right decisions for your team and teammates. You have to become a complete player in order to bring your team out of a rut. Everyone can’t do it.”
There are a couple different angles here, from Stoudemire’s implication that Anthony isn’t necessarily the type of superstar who makes his teammates better, to echoes of the 2011 trade that brought Anthony to New York at the expense of some pretty valuable assets who would’ve made the Knicks better had Anthony just waited for the summer to sign as a free agent.
In Anthony’s defense, he chose to re-sign with the Knicks in 2014 when he could have cut and run from the smoking crater the team turned out to be. They’re a little better this year, thanks in large part to Kristaps Porzingis, the most popular and exciting player in town since an out-of-nowhere guard named Jeremy Lin. And you’d better believe Stoudemire hinted at Anthony being jealous of 2012's Linsanity.
“If [Lin] stayed, it would’ve been cool,” Stoudemire said. “But everyone wasn’t a fan of him being a new star. So he didn’t stay long. Jeremy was a great, great guy, great with teammates, worked hard. He put the work in. We were proud of him having his moment. A lot of times you got to enjoy somebody else’s success. That wasn’t the case for us during that stretch. You got to enjoy that and let that player enjoy himself and cherish those moments. He was becoming a star and I didn’t think everyone was pleased with that.”
After the game, Anthony was informed of Stoudemire’s comments, and he pointed to Porzingis as proof that he can handle not being the fan favorite, and as evidence that Stoudemire couldn’t have been referring to him.
“Still?” Anthony asked when told that Lin came up when reporters talked to Stoudemire. “That was [four] years ago? I don’t know. I don’t have no comment about that. If [Lin] was becoming a star, we should embrace that. I don’t know. We didn’t embrace it? Was that the word?
“Shit, if that was the case then I’d be upset right now with KP, if he’s talking about me. I doubt if [Stoudemire is] talking about me. I doubt that. I highly doubt that.”
(He was, though.)