New York Knicks All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony re-stoked a perceived rift between himself and new Brooklyn Nets and former Knicks guard Jeremy Lin by questioning why the Nets would make him their franchise player.
After practice Friday, one day before the Knicks would win their preseason matchup with Brooklyn 116-98, Anthony said he was happy for Lin but didn’t understand why the Nets would make him the focal point of their team. Brooklyn, which is rebuilding after a disastrous 21-61 record last season, signed Lin to a three-year, $36 million contract this summer.
“He is the face of their franchise – believe it or not,’’ Anthony said according to the New York Post. “He came up, they paid him. Now the ball is in his hands. Now he’s one of the franchise players over there. I don’t know what you want me to say about that. I’m happy for him, excited for him to see how it’s going to turn out over there.’’
Four years ago, Lin became an overnight sensation for the Knicks. He would eventually leave for Houston and many believed stars like Anthony and former Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire weren’t too pleased with all the attention Lin was receiving. Lin helped New York win seven straight games by averaging 24.4 points and 9.1 assists during the streak, known as “Linsanity.”
In July, Mike D’Antoni, who was the Knicks head coach during “Linsanity,” told the Vertical Anthony and Stoudemire didn’t want to adjust their style of play to suit Lin’s hot streak.
“It was there, it’s real,” D’Antoni said. “The problem that we had was that for Jeremy to be really good, which he was, he had to play a certain way. It was hard for him to adapt.
“Amar’e, Melo, whatever, kinda had their way they had to play a certain way to be really, really good. So there was that inherent conflict of: What’s better for the team? What isn’t? Can they co-exist? Can they not? And again, they could co-exist if Melo went to the 4, which he really didn’t want to, and if Amar’e came to the backup [center], like the Tyson [Chandler], which he didn’t want to.”
However, in his most recent comments, Anthony said he couldn’t really recall “Linsanity.”
“That was five, six years ago, bro,’’ Anthony said. “I forgot about that.’’
Lin returns to New York after stints in Houston, Los Angeles, and last season with Charlotte, where he rejuvenated his scoring touch by averaging 11.7 points and 3.0 assists and contending for Sixth Man of the Year honors.