If Carmelo Anthony ends up staying in New York City and playing for the Knicks after he becomes a free agent next summer, Knicks fans might want to send a couple thank you cards to Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.

Recently, Anthony came out and admitted that he's looking forward to becoming a free agent after the 2013-14 NBA season. And that prompted Barkley and Smith to call Anthony out earlier this week. They both said that rather than worrying about leaving New York, Anthony "should worry about trying to get players to join him." And apparently, that struck a nerve with Anthony, who shot back at Barkley and Smith yesterday by saying that he is prepared to try and recruit some other stars to the Knicks next summer, if he decides to stay with the team.

"They don't know what I'm doing," he said after practice yesterday. "I haven't had a complaint yet in my 11 years in the NBA about playing with me. I think people would love to come to play in New York. And when that time comes, we'll be working on that. I have a big black book. I have a big Rolodex. People that talk about what's going on with me in the offseason, this and that, I should be getting people to come here, I am. I'm trying."

To be fair here, Anthony did bring this all on himself when he spoke about becoming a free agent recently. Had he just ignored questions about free agency and refused to speak up about it, there's a good chance that Barkley and Smith wouldn't have called him out. But now that they've done it, it sounds like Anthony is hellbent on proving them wrong. And that might end up working out in favor of the Knicks and their fans. So get those thank you cards ready, guys. If Anthony is eventually able to bring another star to the Knicks' roster at some point in the near future, you're going to need them.

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[via Newsday]