Carmelo Anthony: Love the chip on Kristaps Porzingis' shoulder

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Carmelo Anthony set the record straight regarding his opinion of New York Knicks first-round draft pick Kristaps Porzingis and the team's acquisitions in free agency.

"Honestly, I thought we did a great job just as far as putting the pieces that we need to put together," Anthony said Tuesday at the Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas. "We didn't get DeAndre [Jordan], we didn't get LaMarcus [Aldridge] and Greg Monroe, but [Robin] Lopez is a great addition. Arron Afflalo, I played with him a long time in Denver. [Kyle] O'Quinn is a great pickup; I think guys will like him. He's a big guy, power forward. Derrick Williams, we're going to get him right. He seemed focused. And then rookies, KP [Porzingis], I had him with me last week working out at my gym. We're just trying to start this thing off right."

Asked about reports that he had reservations about the Knicks' free-agent pickups and their decision to draft Porzingis, Anthony replied, "I never said that s---. Whatever rumors that you guys heard about me or about Phil [Jackson], about Porzingis, about anybody -- it's all false."

Anthony's opinion of the Knicks' offseason moves has been a topic of widespread speculation for the past six weeks.

Shortly after the draft, and other outlets reported that Anthony expressed displeasure with the team's decision to draft Porzingis.

Last month, one report said Anthony was "skeptical" about the Knicks' free-agent acquisitions.

On Tuesday, Anthony acknowledged that he would have liked the Knicks to add a star player this summer.

"You always want the top guys that's out there. That's anybody, not just myself ... but I feel good about the pieces that we've got," he said.

Anthony also had high praise for Porzingis, the 19-year-old Latvian big man drafted by New York with the fourth overall pick.

"He's a down-to-earth guy, a humble guy," Anthony said. "You can tell that he's got a chip on his shoulder, which I love that. ... You kind of have to have that being in New York."

Anthony, 31, was asked about the notion that, by drafting Porzingis, the Knicks showed they are no longer building a team that will be ready to win while he is in his prime.

"When you look at the draft, you want somebody that you can develop right away. Porzingis is a guy who has some upside to him. Did we get one of the top three [draft picks]? No, we didn't get one of the top three. Whoever we drafted, it was going to be an issue anyway," Anthony said. "That's just what happens in New York and the draft. But I'm good, man, mentally, physically, spiritually. I'm excited about the new team that we have and I look forward to leading them."

Anthony added that he was "bothered" by reports that he was unhappy with the Knicks' offseason.

"You know [why] I'm bothered about that? Because I haven't said none of that. That's why I'm bothered. It's always speculation," said Anthony, who is entering the second year of a five-year, $124 million contract. "I try to use the summer time to myself, get away from the media. Let you guys have your time ... but then someway, somehow it always come back to me. I expect that. I don't get mad at that."

Anthony believes it's too early to predict that the Knicks will make the playoffs in 2015-16 -- one year after their disastrous 17-win season. The 12-year veteran is not expected to play in the scrimmage in Las Vegas, as he's still rehabbing from a February surgery to repair a patella injury. But he did participate in on-court activities Tuesday.

Anthony said he expects to take contact and play 5-on-5 by the end of the month.

"If I really wanted to have contact right now, I would go do it, but there's no need for me to rush it," Anthony said.'s Ian Begley contributed to this report.

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