NEW YORK (WFAN) — New York fans desperately want the Knicks to trade for Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony, there’s no doubt about that after “We Want ‘Melo” chants resonated through the Garden on Wednesday night.
Mike D’Antoni wasn’t thrilled with the MSG buzz.
New York’s head coach admitted on Thursday that the Carmelo chants, and the continuous trade rumors, have affected his slumping team.
“It’s not good,” D’Antoni said. “There’s no doubt about it. It affects some of the players, without a doubt.”
LISTEN: Boomer & Carton want more ‘Melo chants
D’Antoni is fearful that the Knicks will continue to be distracted until February 24, the NBA’s trading deadline.
“It’s a fear,” D’Antoni said. “But it’s also part of the business, it is a fear. You try to avoid things as well as you can and talk to them. They have to harden it up and harden their skin.”
The player taking it the hardest appears to be Wilson Chandler.
Chandler, fighting through leg injuries, hasn’t been the same play-maker since becoming the focus of trade talks.
“We’ve had a bunch of conversations,” D’Antoni said. “It’s time you have to be professional, do your job and do it as well as you can. I hate it for them, because it’s not an easy job. When you’re banged up, hurting and pushing through certain things psychologically, it’s not the best of times.”
The Los Angeles Lakers are next up for New York, invading MSG on Friday while enveloped in their own Carmelo circus.
A loss to Kobe Bryant’s squad would drop the Knicks to .500.
“We’re still in sixth place,” D’Antoni said. “We’re still OK. We need to play well. We haven’t played well in a month now.”
One player who claims to not feel the Carmelo crunch is Raymond Felton, who has been linked to trade talks himself.
“It’s something I don’t worry about,” he said. “The fans chant everything. All the chanting don’t bother or faze me. Stuff has been said about ‘Melo since Game 1. It’s going into one ear and out the other.”
Do you think fans should stop chanting for ‘Melo? Sound off in the comments below!
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