2017-08-02 22:00:04
Back in Baltimore, Carmelo Anthony Keeps His Remarks Low-Key

22:00, August 02 233 0

BALTIMORE — Wearing a medal for meritorious service hung around his neck by Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, Carmelo Anthony decided the time had come on Wednesday for him to break his months of relative silence.

“I felt the pressure to come say a couple words,” Anthony said. “It was only right.”

Anthony, 33 years old and 25 years removed from his relocation from Brooklyn to Baltimore, spoke on behalf of a local basketball tournament while on stage in West Baltimore at the Robert C. Marshall Recreation Center, where he spent years as a young athlete across several sports. He hit home runs, he scored touchdowns, and, of course, he drained thousands of shots.

“I’m home,” said Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, his voice sometimes wavering with emotion. “I done ran these schoolyards. I done played on this exact field that you guys are here sitting on right now. I was a little kid running in and out of Robert C. Marshall not knowing what was my next move.”

Anthony is again at an uncertain moment. His Knicks team has gone through a turbulent off-season that included the ouster of Phil Jackson, the team president who sent more than one barb Anthony’s way before being dismissed.

While Anthony has a contract for two more seasons in New York and a no-trade clause, he finally seems ready to call it a day with the Knicks and accept a trade to a far stronger team — the most notable option being the Houston Rockets, who have already acquired Chris Paul to pair with James Harden.

As he spoke to reporters on Wednesday, Anthony said he felt “at peace” these days as the memories and controversies of another bad season faded away.

“I’ve been good,” he said. “I’ve been away from the fray; you haven’t heard any comments from me. I’m growing my hair out right now, spending time with the family. I’m being an A.A.U. dad right now. That’s what matters to me at this point — nothing else really matters.”

Anthony also offered a low-key response when asked about the decision of the team’s owner, James L. Dolan, to dismiss Jackson after three years on the job.

“I thought it was a business decision,” Anthony said. “Dolan’s got to run his organization.”

Anthony also demurred when asked if he expected to be at the Knicks’ training camp when it opens in September.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m not talking about basketball right now.”

Anthony said he knows the Knicks’ new general manager, Scott Perry. The relationship dates to the days when Anthony was a top prospect out of Syracuse in the loaded 2003 N.B.A. draft.

In that draft, Perry was part of the Detroit Pistons’ front office, which chose Darko Milicic over Anthony with the second overall pick in a decision the Pistons came to regret mightily.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll get to speak to him when I have time,” Anthony said of Perry, before pivoting to the woman to his right, who happened to be the mayor. “But you’ve got to ask the mayor some questions.”

Pugh could not avoid the topic of Anthony’s future, either. After one enthusiastic answer about the city’s economic prospects, a reporter asked, “Mayor, do you think he’ll be a Knick come the next season?”

“I think he’ll be whatever he wants to be, because that’s the kind of man he is,” she replied. “When you think about how these young people out here get excited, fans get excited when they see Carmelo Anthony play. So let me just send a message: Carmelo Anthony rocks.”

The questions shifted back to Anthony, who was asked how his last 12 months had been since he helped the United States win a gold medal in basketball at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and then endured another season with the Knicks.

“An emotional roller coaster,” Anthony said. “But I had to find peace at it, come to peace with myself, come to peace with the situation I’m in, kind of try to find happiness again. I kind of lost that a little bit, but I’m finding it now, and it feels good.”