Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim called the Carmelo Anthony trade “huge” for his former player and added that Anthony will use the opportunity to prove that he is still one of the NBA’s top players.
“I’m very happy for him,” Boeheim told The Daily News over the telephone. “Carmelo is in great shape and he’s got a chip on his shoulder. He’s one of the best players in the world and he’s going to show that in Oklahoma City.”
The Knicks and Thunder on Saturday agreed to a trade that would send Anthony to OKC for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second-round 2018 draft pick that originally belonged to the Chicago Bulls. The trade will not be finalized until Monday.
Boeheim, who in the past has been critical of former Knicks president Phil Jackson, praised Steve Mills and Scott Perry for making a deal that makes sense for both clubs.
“They held out because of Ryan Anderson and in the end they got some value,” Boeheim said. “I’ve bashed New York for a couple of years so I think it’s good to say something nice about them.”
The deal reunites Anthony with his former Olympic teammates Russell Westbrook and Paul George, who was acquired from Indiana in a trade on June 30. Anthony is also reunited with Troy Weaver, Oklahoma City’s assistant general manager who as an assistant coach under Boeheim is responsible for recruiting Anthony to Syracuse.
“He told me I have to go see this this kid in Baltimore and when we went down there I remember saying ‘we can win the championship with this guy,’” Boeheim said. “And I don’t say that stuff all the time.”
Boeheim was recently with Anthony in Syracuse and says that within the last several days he heard there was a chance that Oklahoma City was poised to make a deal.
“They already have two of the top 10 players in the league,” he said. “Now you add Carmelo and that is a dangerous team. You still have Golden State but the Thunder got better. I’m just so happy for Carmelo. This is the best thing that I’ve heard in a long time. He deserves a chance to win and be part of a great team.”