With a cloud of criticism and trade talk hanging over him, Carmelo Anthony was named to his 10th All-Star Game on Wednesday and dropped 19 points in the first quarter against Thunder.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an honor to be named to the All-Star team, to go out there and represent despite everything that’s been going on, that’s surrounding us, that’s surrounding me, that’s surrounding our organization,” said Anthony, who was originally planning a vacation before he received the call from the league office.
But with the Knicks (23-34) ready to build around a new star, Anthony is approaching a new stage of his career.
Anthony’s play has not changed dramatically. He still creates open looks for himself and, for all intents and purposes, the Knicks’ offense still operates through Melo. He’s averaging 23.4 points on 44.3% shooting this season, in line with his career numbers. Still, Anthony undoubtedly is in the latter stages of his illustrious career. At 32, he will be the oldest player in New Orleans for this year’s All-Star Game on Sunday.
With 21-year-old Kristaps Porzingis, a participant in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge and Saturday’s Skills Challenge, at the center of the Knicks’ future roster moves, Anthony may never again be a team’s go-to option.
The only teams for which Melo reportedly considered waiving his no-trade clause — the Celtics, Clippers and Cavaliers — are equipped with either well-established or emerging superstars. LeBron James leads the way in Cleveland alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are joined by first-time All-Star DeAndre Jordan on the Clippers, and Isaiah Thomas has developed into one of the league’s most thrilling scorers for Boston.
But even with the prospects of aging and a team that’s transforming around him, Anthony has continued to express his desire to remain in the Big Apple.
“I never thought I would be anywhere else,” Anthony told reporters this week. “... Nothing came to me, nothing came to my table for me to look at. Until that time comes, then they don’t need for me to even talk about the trade clause.”