OKLAHOMA CITY — Hours after he was officially traded to the Thunder, Carmelo Anthony took part in the team’s media day and said the opportunity to play with? Russell Westbrook and Paul George was a significant reason he elected to waive his no-trade clause.
“Russ don’t really do the convincing,” Anthony said Monday, with a laugh. “He came to New York and played pickup at my gym. I saw him in Paris at fashion week. Me and Russ became closer and closer over the years. He was a big part, he was a big reason why I wanted to come here. To see his loyalty to the city, to this organization, what he was able to do on the court — I wanted to be a part of that.
“Adding PG was just another reason why I wanted to come here,” Anthony continued. “Our relationship, our friendship, our respect for one another as basketball players was the reason that I wanted to play alongside him and have an opportunity to compete for a championship and kind of just bring some more energy — not like this city needs any more energy, but it’s a different energy, a different focus, a different motivation that myself have, Paul has and Russ has, being that we haven’t won a championship yet in our career, and we see that, and that’s our ultimate goal.”
Anthony also pushed back at the assumption he wouldn’t want to play in a small market like Oklahoma City, saying, “That’s because nobody really knew me.”
News of the trade broke on Saturday. The deal became official Monday, with the Thunder sending? Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott to the New York Knicks?in return.
Anthony spent 6? seasons in New York. After then-team president Phil Jackson publicly announced in March his desire to trade the 10-time All-Star, the relationship with the front office deteriorated, culminating in Anthony’s trade.
“Win, lose or draw, you know, I was there every night,” Anthony said Monday. “I came in and competed every night. I stayed professional throughout all of the ups and downs that comes along with being in New York. It was a lot of noise, so I had to find some type of quietness and find some ‘me’ time to try to figure this all out. But I don’t think the fans will have anything bad to say because I think they understand. They’re very educated. They understand what it’s like playing in New York. For me, I feel like I’ve embraced all of those challenges playing in New York.
“There are times in sports where everybody has to go their separate ways, and there are no hard feelings,” Anthony said….