NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony should focus on trying to get players to join him in New York, not creating uncertainty about whether he would leave.
That's the opinion of TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, who are disappointed by Anthony's desire to become a free agent after this season.
"He owns the city, he should be trying to get guys to come here and not like 'I'll stay here a couple of years -- I forced my way here, No. 1, I got here, now I want to leave.' That's just not cool at all to be honest with you," Barkley said Monday.
Anthony has never said he wants to leave New York. He just said he wants to experience free agency when he can opt out of his contract this summer.
That's the wisest move financially, as long as he then signs another long-term deal with the Knicks. But as long as he refuses to commit to staying in New York, it creates doubt about whether that's his plan.
"What he should say is, 'The Knicks have to, they're going to give me the max. I'm going to be in New York."' Smith said.
Barkley and Smith, along with Shaquille O'Neal and host Ernie Johnson, spoke at a lunch the day before their Inside the NBA pregame show will take place outdoors in New York before the opening night of the regular season.
Smith, a New York native, said the Knicks need to get to a point where players would take less money because they want to come to the city to play with Anthony.
The Knicks acquired Anthony in February 2011, months after he told the Denver Nuggets he wanted a trade to New York. He topped the league in scoring last season, leading the Knicks to their first Atlantic Division title since 1994, but O'Neal said he can do even more.
"Carmelo, to me, needs to stop being satisfied with being mentioned after LeBron," O'Neal said.
-- The Associated Press