On the eve of the Thunder’s season opener against the Knicks tomorrow, Carmelo Anthony spoke to Marc Stein, now of the New York Times, about the process of switching conferences and leaving New York after six drama-filled and mostly pointless seasons. It has some good Phil Jackson burns that paint the old coot as an out-of-touch weirdo (the pair apparently spoke face-to-face only twice last year) whose only noteworthy accomplishment was alienating his star player while also simultaneously tethering the franchise’s long-term future to him alone to a disastrous degree. When it came time to finally trade Anthony and get around the no-trade clause Jackson inexplicably gave him, he wasn’t really up for it.
“There was no support from the organization,” he said. “When you feel like you’re on your own and then on top of that you feel like you’re being pushed out ...”
The delay to find a workable trade, in Anthony’s view, stemmed from the fact that Jackson was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips.”
Anthony later said he was “stabbed in the back” by Jackson, which could have been avoided had he been more communicative. But what’s more interesting than his breakup with the Knicks is where he ended up. Houston and Cleveland tried to trade for him, and Portland had perhaps the best available offer, but Anthony ultimately left for the decidedly uncosmopolitan prarie of Oklahoma City. One of the people in Melo’s camp who helped convince him was his 10-year-old son Kiyan:
“My son said he wanted me to play for O.K.C.,” Anthony said. “Even before O.K.C. was in the picture.’’
“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 O.K.C.’