Carmelo Anthony surfaced for the first time since the end of the season on Wednesday, 192 miles southwest of New York City. It wasn’t James Dolan, or new president Steve Mills, or even Rockets GM Daryl Morey joining the Knicks forward on the podium, but Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. The ceremony wasn’t about the NBA at all—Melo was given a mayor’s medallion after hosting the Basketball Tournament’s Day of Giving in the city, his hometown—but like all things good in this world, eventually, the conversation turned back to the Knicks.
"I'm not talking about basketball right now," Melo said at the event. He did talk basketball, before and after this statement, but mostly only to emphasise how little basketball he is talking, especially with his bosses in New York. According to Carmelo, the parties haven’t spoken in over a month, since Mills officially became president, and since the hiring of new GM Scott Perry, whom he’s known for years. "I’m pretty sure I’ll talk to [Perry] when the time comes."
That statement is 36 percent commitment—"I’ll talk to him"—and 64 percent hedging. Being "pretty" sure something will happen "when the time comes" holds all the certainty of those "we should meet up!" plans you made on Facebook with the guy from sophomore year of college.
The Daily News reported that Melo’s camp is quiet because Mills paused negotiations with the Rockets in an effort to keep the veteran. Houston is reportedly the lone remaining franchise that Carmelo will waive his no-trade clause for, despite Portland’s best efforts and former rumors about Cleveland. Forcing a trade is no foreign venture to the 33-year-old, and neither, apparently, is working a crowd a couple of states away from New York.
Other than a sly, "You know I can’t talk about that," response when asked about the possibility of playing with his buddy Chris Paul, Melo responded to the other Knicks questions in language best described as the flourishing, filtered Instagram feed of someone post-breakup.
"I've been good. I've been away from the fray," he said, and what follows is literally bits and pieces of various songs from Drake, the no-love-lost-but-kind-of pedagogue of our generation:
"You haven't heard comments from me. I'm growing my hair out right now, spending time with the family. I'm being an AAU dad right now. That's what matters to me at this point. Nothing else really matters."
Which is to say, New York: Carmelo isn’t blinking.