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Carmelo Anthony ready for first return to MSG as Oklahoma City Thunder face New York Knicks

From NBA Twitter and media reports

Carmelo Anthony is returning to New York. You might have heard.

Just like most events in New York, this promises to be larger than it probably should be, although the drama surrounding ‘Melo being back in Madison Square Garden (Thunder vs. Knicks, 7:30 ET on NBA TV) should be a few rungs below what Paul George felt the other day when he returned to Indiana.

And there shouldn’t be any rancor, because ‘Melo never wanted to leave the Knicks, and if anything, Phil Jackson is the bad guy in this scenario and Knicks fans realize that.

Not many athletes are willing to play in New York and deal with the enormous media demands, and in terms of the Knicks, also cope with decades of mixed results at best. Anthony wasn’t one of those players; he craved the city and all of its issues, both good and not so good, and stayed the good soldier through it all.

Here’s Ian Begley of ESPN on the anticipated homecoming:

“I think he was as professional as he can be in his time here in New York, so I don’t see why they would not receive him with love,” Kristaps Porzingis said Thursday.

The Knicks announced Friday that Porzingis is questionable to play in the game because of a knee injury.

In Anthony’s 6 1/2 seasons in New York, the Knicks advanced past the first round of the playoffs just once and failed to reach the postseason the past four seasons. Teammates have credited Anthony for how he handled the off-court drama of trade speculation and critiques — both direct and indirect — delivered by former Knicks president Phil Jackson throughout the 2016-17 season.

You’ve got to respect him being a professional, how he handled everything with the media last year,” Courtney Lee said Thursday.

Lee said Anthony may receive a mixed reaction Saturday night.

Anthony, like Patrick Ewing before him, failed to win a title, yet Ewing is beloved in New York and the affection for Anthony is likely to be positive as well.

The real question is this: Will Porzingis be the franchise player who breaks the spell to someday give the Knicks a title, something they haven’t won since 1973?