During Stephen A. Smith‘s ESPN radio show with Ryan Ruocco yesterday afternoon, his voice raised an octave after some light (for him) banter about the new Yankees contract for Jacoby Ellsbury. That’s because it was time to talk about the woeful Knicks, and Smith — as is his custom — decided to drop some truth bombs (featuring typically unnamed sources). According to Smith, Carmelo Anthony will leave the Knicks in free agency this summer.
The Nets and Knicks tip off at 7 p.m. EST tonight on TNT, and Anthony issued a soft denial of Smith’s rant to the New York Post‘s Marc Berman during the team’s shootaround at Barclays Arena in Brooklyn:
“I don’t think nobody goes where [they’re] expecting to lose,” Anthony said after Thursday’s shootaround at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “I’m going through it and dealing with it. As far as me leaving and thinking about it, I’d be selfish to think about it at this point. With us losing and going through the situation we’re going though, I’d be selfish on my part, to my teammates, to the organization to even have that thought come across my mind.
“I’m not even thinking about it at this point,” Anthony insisted. “I don’t know who his sources are. I’m not thinking about it at all. It’s not coming from me and it’s not coming from the people I talk to on a daily basis. I don’t talk to anybody about that on my crew, on my team, family. It’s not true.”
“Nobody ever expected this,” Anthony said Thursday. “We’re going through it, dealing with it. We got to start winning some basketball games. Everything else is secondary at this point. For us, trying to stay mentally strong, doing what we got to do to win basketball games. It starts tonight, trying to get confidence back as a team.
“I’ve never dealt with anything like this. It’s definitely a challenge for me to stay positive at this time, keep my team strong mentally.”
Below is our own transcript of Smith’s ‘Melo diatribe, but he also gets into Mike Woodson rumors and possible coaching replacements in former Knicks Allan Houston (assistant GM right now) and Larry Johnson:
“Carmelo Anthony is gone. Ain’t no way in hell he’s staying here [in New York]. I’m hearing he’s out. Gone. Unless the money disappears elsewhere — because he definitely wants to get paid — he’s not trying to stay here [in New York] for this. So if you’re [Knicks GM] Steve Mills, and you’re the Knicks brain-trust, you have to do something to resurrect this stuff. Now [Melo's agency] CAA, will give the impression they can influence ‘Melo’s decision. Let me assure America one thing; let me assure New York of one thing: CAA does not run Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo Anthony is his own man and Carmelo Anthony is going to make his own decision. If there’s any way Carmelo Anthony is gone, it will be his decision, not CAA. Carmelo Anthony is making this call. Now I want to emphasize, what I’m saying to you right now, is the NFL — NBA Insider talking. I’m not mincing words. I’m telling you what I’m being told. We can debate what it means until the cow’s come home as to what we think about it. But I am telling you what I have been told, in the last 24 hours: Carmelo ain’t trying to stay for this.”
Here’s a sample of Smith’s continued shouting, but we zoned out when his crescendoing rhetoric kept getting worse:
“Now, I’ve also sat there and listened to people talk about Woodson. Everybody knows what’s happening to Woodson is grotesquely unfair. Because I tell you, that [Andrea] Bargnani deal wasn’t a Woodson deal, wasn’t a [former GM Glen] Grunwald deal…”
If you’ve been living under a rock the past couple days, ‘Melo has called the 3-15 Knicks the “laughingstock” of the NBA on the eve of their battle against supposed intra-city rival Brooklyn. Both teams stink, as Jason Kidd recently admitted, so Smith’s diatribe does have some supporting evidence.
There’s a discussion about the veracity of Smith’s claim going on over at reddit’s excellent r/NBA forum, and former Anthony coach, George Karl, was just on ESPN applauding ‘Melo’s individual scoring prowess while at the same time dismissing him as someone that can’t win a championship:
Coach George Karl on Carmelo Anthony: "He's an individual that produces individual success but doesn't produce Championships". @ESPNNBA
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) December 5, 2013
It’s just another day in New York, but if you’ll excuse us, we have to go sit in a quiet corner for a while after listening to Stephen A. Smith for 20 minutes.
Do you believe Melo’s gone after this season?
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