Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Deron Williams will miss tonight’s Knicks-Nets because he’s undergoing season-ending wrist surgery Friday.
But Carmelo Anthony believes Williams’ presence in New Jersey will heat up the cross-river rivalry down the road.
When asked about the Nets’ new billboard promoting Williams in Times Square, Anthony said, “I’m happy for him. I haven’t seen it but I’m happy for him. He’s gonna be in New York, too, so you’re going to be seeing a lot more of that, the competition thing.
“We got another Subway Series now coming soon.”
A two-time NBA All-Star, Williams becomes a free agent in 2012, and could opt to leave New Jersey for the Knicks then.
Asked which New York borough Williams will ultimately land in — Manhattan or Brooklyn — Anthony said, “Oh, man, I don’t know.”
Told by a reporter that he had been given an alley-oop opportunity to say that Williams could join the Knicks in 2012, Anthony said, “I see, I see, I see. I caught it and came down. I didn’t dunk it.”
Williams isn’t the only star who will miss Friday’s game.
Amar’e Stoudemire is out with a sprained left ankle suffered Wednesday against Philadelphia.
“We’ll play it by ear the next night [Sunday at Indiana], but he’s out tonight,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’ll be very cautious with him, but make sure he’s OK.”
D’Antoni said there’s a chance Stoudemire would remain out until next week. The Knicks host Chicago Tuesday and close the season Wednesday at Boston.
“The best thing for him right now if it’s bothering him, is to get it right, get healthy and be ready by next week,” Anthony said. “At this point I’m only concerned with him getting healthy. I don’t really care about him trying to rush back and play in these last couple games.”
Chauncey Billups, who suffered a thigh bruise against the 76ers, will start Friday, alongside Landry Fields, Anthony, Shawne Williams and Shelden Williams.
“I said, ‘How do you feel?'” D’Antoni said of Billups. “He said, ‘Great.'”
The Knicks have just four more games before the playoffs begin, potentially April 17 against either Boston or Miami.
D’Antoni said he’s still formulating his rotation for the postseason.
“Not totally, it could change depending on who we match up with, who we have to match up with,” he said. “The good thing about Shelden is he matches up with better stronger guys inside. Ronny [Turiaf] more of a quicker guy. It will be one of those two guys [at center].”
Both D’Antoni and Anthony said they had no preference whether they play the Celtics or the Heat in the first round.
“It don’t matter,” Anthony said. “It’s going to be a tough test for us regardless of who we play.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.