Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim understandably has thoughts on the NBA career of Carmelo Anthony, who as a one-year wonder for the Orange in 2003 led Boeheim to his only NCAA tournament title. There’s also the little matter of the $3 million Anthony donated to Syracuse for the construction of the team’s basketball training facility, now called the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center.
Anyway, Boeheim was in West Point, N.Y., with Team USA on Monday and was asked about Anthony’s decision to re-up with the New York Knicks as a free agent in the offseason instead of taking less money to join the Chicago Bulls. ESPNNewYork’s Ian Begley has his response:
“Just from a basketball point of view it would have been better to go to Chicago because they’ve got better players,” Boeheim, who coached Anthony on Syracuse’s national championship team in 2003, said on Monday. “But he wanted to be in New York and he wants to see if they can turn it around there. I think that’s a great thing.”
As Begley points out, the Bulls have a newly healthy Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, the four-time all-star who signed with Chicago as a free agent. But Boeheim said Phil Jackson’s role as Knicks team president persuaded Anthony to stay in New York. He also has high hopes for Derek Fisher as the team’s coach.
“He stayed because he believes Phil,” Boeheim said. “Derek Fisher, he knows the game. If you’re going to pick a coach who hasn’t coached, he would be the guy I would pick. I think he’s a great choice. I talked to Derek a little bit. I think he’s really smart. I think he’ll be a really good coach. I think they’ll show significant improvement this year. If they get a couple of guys down the road, I think they’ll be good.”
The slimmed-down Anthony, for his part, told the New York Post on Monday that the Knicks “absolutely” will be back in the playoffs next season. But he also said he hasn’t had much contact with Jackson since he re-signed with the team.
“I haven’t really talked to him since we took care of everything,” Anthony told the Post.