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Carmelo Anthony Rumors: Knicks Planning to Pursue Veteran Without Chris Paul

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2017, file photo, New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony looks on during a break in an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Philadelphia. Phil Jackson may be trying to trade Anthony because he's given up trying to change him. That seemed to be the conclusion when the Knicks president of basketball operations broke his Twitter silence with a tweet that was another dig at the star forward.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The New York Knicks are reportedly still planning to pursue Carmelo Anthony even if they don't land Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul in a trade.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Friday that while Melo's interest in the Knicks would be piqued if they land Paul, the front office's pursuit of the All-Star forward, who previously played for the team from 2011 through 2017, isn't dependent on other moves.

Anthony is coming off a resurgent campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers. He averaged 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists across 58 appearances during the regular season after signing in mid-November.

The 36-year-old Syracuse product knocked down several clutch threes during the Blazers' playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, but the team was eliminated in five games.

Most importantly, the stint in Portland showed progression from the 2012-13 NBA scoring champion in terms of filling a secondary role, a situation he struggled to handle during lackluster stints with the Thunder and Houston Rockets over the previous two seasons.

He worked nicely as a complementary piece to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum while mostly operating as a stretch 4.

The success should allow Anthony to receive more interest in his latest free-agent stint after spending more than nine months on the open market last time.

In August, the New York City native said he hoped to remain with the Blazers, though.

"I pray that it can be Portland, I think I found a home in Portland," Anthony told reporters. "... I think you [media members] saw it, why this is a good fit for me. Whenever you find a situation that's comfortable and allows you to be who you are, you want to stay in that situation. There's no need to try different things when something is working."

Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see how aggressive the Knicks are in their first offseason under new team president Leon Rose, a former agent with plenty of connections around the league. Paul is one of his former clients, which is why those links have been so strong.

Adding Paul and Anthony to a roster with some promising young talents like RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson would give New York reason for optimism heading into the 2020-21 season.

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