Carmelo Anthony on criticism from Charles Barkley: ‘I don’t listen to that guy’
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony made some waves a few weeks ago when he announced his intentions related to his ability to exercise an option that gets him out of his contract so he can test free agency in 2014.
“I want to be a free agent,” Anthony said. Can’t be much clearer than that.
“I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career. It’s like you have an evaluation period, you know. It’s like if I’m in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do. So yes, I want that experience.”
Of course, this ruffled the feathers of not only Knicks fans, but others as well, as it could be inferred that Anthony was less focused on the upcoming season and giving his best on the court for the Knicks and more zeroing in on what will happen once the 2013-14 NBA season is in the books.
One who didn’t appreciate Anthony’s free agency bravado is TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who came down hard on Anthony regarding his proclamation, criticizing the Knicks star on several fronts.
Barkley and fellow “Inside the NBA” panelists were in New York to promote “Inside the NBA” as well as the upcoming season, at a luncheon. And of course, the topic of Anthony’s intent to test free agency was a central theme.
And when Charles Barkley talks, people listen.
“When I heard that, I was very disappointed, because he wanted to come here,” Barkley said, as quoted in Newsday. “Now all of a sudden he wants to leave. He wants to test free agency. That really —- me off, to be honest with you.
“He owns the city. He should be trying to get guys to come here, not like, I stayed here a couple of years. I forced my way here, No. 1, I got here and now I want to leave. That’s just not cool at all.”
One person who doesn’t think that the provocative and often insightful things Barkley has to say are worth paying any attention to is Carmelo, who blew off Barkley’s criticism.
“Somebody just told me now (what Barkley said). I don’t listen to that guy, not at all,” Anthony said, according to a report from the New York Daily News. “I don’t care about doubters. I really don’t to be honest with you.
“The free agency, that’s not hanging over my head. I’ll deal with that in the offseason when that time comes,” Anthony continued. “So that’s not something I’m actually thinking about at this point in time. I’m very excited about this season. I think it’ll be a great season, I believe it’ll be a great season and I think we have a hell of a chance to do something this year.”
When told that both Barkley and fellow TNT analyst Kenny Smith chided him for exploring leaving the Knicks via free agency instead of putting forth the effort to entice players to join him in New York, Anthony scoffed at that notion as well.
“They don’t know what I’m doing,” Anthony responded. “I haven’t had a complaint yet in my 11 years in this NBA about playing with me. I think people would love to come to play in New York. And when that time comes we’ll be working on that. I have a big black book. I have a big rolodex. People that talk about what’s going on with me in the offseason, this and that, I should be getting people to come here, I am. I’m trying.”
There you have it. Anthony has every right to blow off what others say — in particular those in the media — so long as he remains focused on the task at hand — leading the Knicks to a deep run in the postseason — and not a big payday next summer by picking somewhere else to play.