Knicks try to move on af­ter An­thony

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page - By Bri­anMa­honey

Carmelo An­thony was the Knicks’ lead­ing scorer, the one who made things eas­ier for his team­mates.

He was also the voice of the fran­chise, of­ten ea­ger to use his fame and for­tune for good.

So the Knicks know they are fac­ing a tough task in mov­ing on­with­out him — on and off the court.

The Knicks com­pleted the trade with Ok­la­homa City on Mon­day that sent An­thony to the Thun­der and made Kristaps Porzingis the new­main­man in Madi­son Square Gar­den.

“Ob­vi­ously he took a lot of pres­sure off of ev­ery­body. We’ve got to un­der­stand that,” Porzingis said.

“He was al­ways the No. 1 fo­cal point for the other team and I re­al­ize that. And now I’m go­ing to be one of those guys that the other team is go­ing to fo­cus on. That’s go­ing to make things more dif­fi­cult for me, so it’s go­ing to be dif­fer­ent. It’s go­ing to be way dif­fer­ent. He draws so much at­ten­tion and there might be more at­ten­tion on me. So I have to be ready for that.”

And that’s not just dur­ing the games.

An­thony was the one who faced the tough­est ques­tions from re­porters while other team­mates could quickly es­cape as the losses mounted. And he was the one will­ing to speak up about so­cial is­sues, around the coun­try or in his homes in New York or Bal­ti­more.

The Knicks ac­knowl­edged that side of An­thony onMon­day, do­nat­ing $100,000 to his re­lief ef­forts in Puerto Rico, his fa­ther’s hur­ri­canedev­as­tated home­land the Knicks had vis­ited with him a few years ago.

The team be­lieved An­thony would be with them Mon­day un­til just a few days ago. They hadn’t been able to find a trade that suited the fran­chise or player, and on Fri­day said they planned for him to be there when train­ing camp opened.

But dis­cus­sions with the Thun­der moved quickly that night and into Satur­day morn­ing, and by the af­ter­noon NewYork had agreed to the trade that brought Enes Kan­ter, Doug McDer­mott and a sec­on­dround pick to New York.

“He had made his sen­ti­ments known, as had we, and if there was some­thing that made sense, we were go­ing to move for­ward without him,” gen­eral man­ager Scott Perry said. “If it didn’t we were go­ing to move for­ward with him, and this just hap­pened to make enough sense to move for­ward without him.”

Porzingis hoped An­thony would re­main in New York, though un­der­stood why the move to Ok­la­homa City was bet­ter for some­one he called a men­tor and big brother. Kan­ter also be­lieves the change of scenery will ben­e­fit the 33-year-old All-Star, who thanked the or­ga­ni­za­tion and city in an es­say on his web­site .

“I think he’s go­ing to do a lot of good things in Ok­la­homa City, and there’s not much dis­trac­tions,” Kan­ter said. “It’s a smaller city of course, you can fo­cus on bas­ket­ball. I think that’s what he needed. He can fo­cus on bas­ket­ball and just go out there and do his thing.”

Kan­ter was giv­ing a bas­ket­ball clinic for or­phans in Ok­la­homa City when he learned of the deal and has been beam­ing ever since about the move to a big city — onewith plenty of Turk­ish restau­rants — af­ter the na­tive of Turkey pre­vi­ously played

for Utah and the Thun­der.

He played in some pickup games this sum­mer with An­thony, who would have still been the Knicks’ best of­fen­sive weapon if he re­mained. It appears that will now be Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 for­ward from Latvia who will be en­ter­ing his third sea­son.

He spent the sum­mer back home, lead­ing the na­tional team in the Eu- ro­pean cham­pi­onships and didn’t re­turn to New York un­til Sun­day, the day An­thony ar­rived in Ok­la­homa City.

Porzingis wouldn’t ad­dress his de­ci­sion to skip his exit meet­ing with Knicks man­age­ment be­fore leav­ing. He only wanted to dis­cuss the team to which he re­turned — the one that’s now his.

“The past is the past and I don’t want to talk about that no more,” Porzingis said. “Let’s talk about the next sea­son. I’m just ex­cited to be here.”

JOHN RAOUX — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

New York Knicks’ Carmelo An­thony waves to fans cheer­ing his name dur­ing the fi­nal mo­ments of an NBA bas­ket­ball game against in Or­lando, Fla.

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