David Fizdale ‘so happy’ for Carmelo Anthony over NBA return
Count New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale among those in league circles who are thrilled that Carmelo Anthony’s year-long stint in NBA purgatory has come to an end.
Anthony made his 2019-20 season debut on Tuesday night with the Portland Trail Blazers — sporting an interesting new number — after signing a one-year deal with the team. While it wasn’t a standout performance — 10 points on 28.6% shooting in 24 minutes of action — the fact alone that Anthony was back on an NBA court was enough to please Fizdale.
The head coach relayed how Anthony spent some time playing pickup games with Knicks players at Columbia University in September. Fizdale noted how engaged the veteran superstar was when it came to his interactions with the Knicks’ younger players.
“I was there,” Fizdale said from Wednesday’s morning shootaround at Wells Fargo Center ahead of a showdown with the Sixers, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “It was great. He grabbed a couple of our young guys and was giving them pointers and stuff like that. I got a real affection for Melo. All those guys in that  class, I’m really close to them — the [Chris] Bosh, [Dwyane] Wade, Melo, LeBron [James] class. I’m close to all those guys. To see him back playing, I think all of us are really happy for him.”
Anthony was believed to be hoping for a reunion with the Knicks, but given his former team is nowhere close to playoff contention, the veteran opted for a squad expected to compete for a postseason spot.
“I know him well,” Fizdale said. “I’m so happy for him. He should be back. I’m happy for him and he’s on a playoff team. He’ll get a chance to play playoff basketball again.”
Fizdale obviously has much larger issues to navigate than raving about Anthony’s return — to put it mildly — but the embattled Knicks coach clearly is thrilled that the longtime superstar is back in the NBA. What’s more, that certainly seems to be the general consensus around the league, even if Anthony’s best days are long behind him.