Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says Phil Jackson "chased" Carmelo Anthony out of New York and that the forward's addition automatically makes the Oklahoma City Thunder a threat to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA's Western Conference.
"They've got two top-10 players [in Russell Westbrook and Paul George] and Carmelo, who's No. 60 or whatever they got him rated," Boeheim, who coached Anthony to the 2003 NCAA championship, told SNY.tv by phone on Saturday. "I think he's still a top player, and I think Russell and Paul George make it easier for him to be able to do what he does."
The reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors remain the team to beat but with the Knicks agreeing to deal Anthony to the Thunder in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick, the Thunder have inched closed to the Warriors. The trade was first reported by ESPN, and confirmed to SNY.tv by a league source.
"I don't know if anybody can beat the Warriors but you want to try to get as close as you can to them, and if somebody gets hurt, if it happens, there aren't too many teams with three players of that ability on the same team," Boeheim said.
"Russell was the MVP. Paul George is one of the better all-around players in the league and Carmelo's the best offensive forward still I think in the game. The center [Steven Adams] is real good. I think it makes them a contender for sure."
Boeheim told ZAGSBLOG last week he believes Jackson hurt the Knicks' bargaining position by making it known he wanted to trade Anthony.
"I think he did, but I think these guys [Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry] salvaged it," Boeheim said Saturday. "Everybody knew they had to make a move by Monday. They just couldn't go to training camp in this circumstance so I think they pulled off a good trade."
The Knicks appear now to have somewhat of a crowded front court with Kanter joining veteran Joakim Noah plus two young guys they plan to build around in Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez.
"I'm glad [Anthony] got that opportunity and I think the two new guys on the Knicks, I think they did a good job," Boeheim said. "They got two young prospects who both can score. They're both really good offensive players."
Asked if he thinks Anthony regrets not making the Knicks a championship contender after arriving in 2011, Boeheim said he did.
"Yeah, he loved New York," he said. "He wanted to come to New York, he wanted to get it done in New York. And he did everything he could to do it, and I don't think he ever wanted to leave New York.
"I think Phil Jackson chased him out, and didn't leave him a good alternative. But I think both organizations came out of this good."