Carmelo Anthony knows what it takes to compete with the Knicks. There is tremendous pressure from a rabid fanbase and the New York media alike, which can be daunting for any NBA player.
It's the reason why he believes Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant didn't sign with them this summer.
"Not everybody can deal with (playing with the Knicks)," Anthony told reporters. "Not even a star, but role players. Not too many people can deal with what comes with that. I don't want to say pressure, but everything that comes along with wearing the Knicks across the chest."
Playing for the Nets is the happy medium, then, with the team still in New York, but not getting the same coverage or pressure from the fanbase as the Knicks. Anthony, on the other hand, "wanted to take that challenge" of producing for the blue and orange.
Durant was open about his reasoning to go with Brooklyn, saying it's no longer the "cool" thing to do. It's something Anthony understood.
"We all read Durant's quotes. We know what he said," Anthony said. "Whether you agreed with it or not, people have different perspectives about it. It's not just 'the Knicks and we're going to get somebody,' and it's a guarantee. Nowadays players aren't thinking about that."
What Anthony didn't understand, though, was the firing of David Fizdale -- something he didn't believe should have happened.
"I don't like it," he said. "Somebody had to take the fall for it. It's sad. It hurts me to see that. Especially for me on the outside looking in now. ...You just don't want to see that from the organization, from the team right now."
These days, Anthony doesn't have to worry about that. He has worked hard to get back into the league, and the Trail Blazers took their shot on bringing him on. It's been going well thus far, as Anthony averages 15.9 points and 5.8 boards over 31.8 minutes per game. He's also shooting 41 percent from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc.
In the end, he loved his time with New York despite all the pressure and ultimately never reaching the NBA Finals.
"I'll never regret it -- even now -- never regretted it," he said. "If I didn't deal with it and went through what I went through, the good and the bad, today wouldn't mean as much as it means to me now."
The Knicks will take on Anthony and the Blazers Tuesday night in Portland.