Carmelo Anthony spent time with J.R. Smith in New York and Denver, and considers Smith a friend.
Now, Anthony says he hopes there’s soon a resolution for Smith the opponent.
Smith is an unrestricted free agent who has yet to re-sign with the NBA champion Cavaliers. He started all of last regular season and playoffs at shooting guard.
But Smith has missed the first three days of camp, with no agreement in sight.
“I don’t know what’s going on over there with that,” Anthony told New York reporters of his former teammate. “I hope they don’t prolong the situation. He helped them win that championship. He was a major part of that team, and I hope they can get something done. If not, we’ll see him somewhere else.”
Smith or not, the Cavs will receive their championship rings opening night. That takes place Oct. 25. Perhaps not so surprisingly, the game is against Anthony and his major-market Knicks.
“That’s our first game, opening night — on their celebratory night,’’ Anthony said. “The NBA [is] trying to give us a little setup on that one.”
After missing the playoffs last season, the Knicks added help in the form of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee, as well as new coach Jeff Hornacek. The hope is that group will team with Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis to make New York basketball relevant again.
“We’re excited, we’re going to be ready to rock,’’ Anthony said. “We still have some ways to go, but that’s a good, big opening night for us, for them, for the NBA, for fans, for everybody. New York-Cleveland. That’s a big game now.”
Question is, will Anthony and Smith stand on separate sidelines for that very game?
“I hope so,” Anthony said.