LeBron James, Dwyane Wade React to Carmelo Anthony Deal
LeBron James pointed out after their latest loss to the Boston Celtics that rivalries are made in the playoffs and not the regular season. With the Knicks no longer a perennial lottery team, both teams could be headed to another memorable playoff series that would be a must-see event. For now, James was cordial when asked about the blockbuster trade before the Heat dismantled the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
"I know he's happy about it. I'm glad that it's over with for himself and it's always good when a friend of yours can just focus on the game," said James. "I think it's great for the NBA. The fact that the Knicks are back, the Celtics have been back for the last few years and all the other teams are trying to compete. I think it's great."
With a revamped roster also featuring veteran Chauncey Billups at the helm of an offensive attack led by an impressive frontcourt of Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, Heat guard Dwyane Wade sounded like he'd prefer to avoid the Knicks altogether in the first round of the playoffs by finishing in the top two in the East.
"This year the Knicks were a high-powered offensive team," he said. "Of course with Melo, they're going to be a high-powered offensive team. It brings excitement back to New York and puts them in position for preparing for the future. They're going to be trouble in the first round."
While most of the media and fans choose to focus on the Celtics and the Heat as the only East teams that will battle for the conference title, James knows better. While the two teams remain neck-and-neck for the top seed, the teams behind them in the standings are only a few games back. A losing streak, a hot stretch of games or an injury could affect the seeding for several teams as each game grows in importance.
"I think it's always been about more than the Heat and Celtics," he said. "That's all that people write about but as players we know how good and how talented Chicago is and you can never count out Orlando. You got Atlanta that's been together I think four or five years now."
As the Heat prepare to face the new-look Knicks on Sunday night at the AmericanAirlines Arena, Wade is confident they'll support Anthony, who came at a steep price that took away much of their depth. There's little doubt that plenty of native New Yorkers who live in South Florida will come out in droves as they always do to support their hometown team.
"Melo is a tough competitor, and New York is going to love him because every night he brings his game whether it's scoring 40 or with his rebounding," Wade said. "He's just a tough guy. So it sets up New York for the future and it was a good move by them."