Carmelo Anthony had a pleasant return trip to London this week and he's returning home to some good news from the league.
Anthony has been voted into this year's All-Star Game as a starter, the sixth time that he's been selected for the NBA's midseason celebration. News of his election to the lineup is no surprise given his regular appearances in the game and the fact that he's turning in the best season of his career.
It might feel like a bit less of a celebration than Anthony might like when he starts getting asked questions about one of his teammates on the Eastern Conference squad. Anthony will be sharing a locker room and a frontcourt with Kevin Garnett in Houston next month.
Only those with a short memory will be scratching their heads for why such a pairing would pique the interest of observers. The rest of us remember Honey Nut Cheerios, technical fouls, Anthony standing on the loading dock of Madison Square Garden and, finally, a one-game suspension for the Knicks star for the whole mess while Garnett was unpunished.
That led to parabola microphones making an appearance on the sideline at MSG, allegedly as part of a quest to put on tape any other vile things that might be sent in Anthony's direction by opposing players over the course of a game. Neither Anthony nor the NBA has any problem with that, although we'd be interested if a player with a reputation for foulness as storied as Garnett's feels differently.
It's a shame that Anthony is put in this position, but not because of any bad blood that he might still have with Garnett over the ugliness earlier this month. It's a shame because Garnett's taking the spot of much more deserving players.
Brook Lopez of the Nets is the obvious choice for a third starting forward to go along with Anthony and LeBron James. He's added new depth to his game while remaining a consistent scorer even as Deron Williams and Joe Johnson mesh as well as Anthony and Garnett.
Tyson Chandler would make an excellent choice as well and the NBA would be making a mistake if both of these players aren't coming off the bench for the East. Both players surpass Garnett by wide margins in any metric designed to measure the value of a player, but the list doesn't end there.
There's Chris Bosh, Joakim Noah, David West, Al Horford, Greg Monroe and Lopez's backup Andray Blatche as well. That's a long list of players with credentials more deserving than Garnett, although none of them can make a spectacle of themselves by insulting the opposition to name one intangible that Garnett calls his own.
The Knicks should get another member of the team in Chandler when the full rosters are announced, but that will likely be it. While J.R. Smith has had some All-Star moments this year, the full body of work isn't enough to advocate his selection over several other wing players who have been at the top of their game.
Maybe if Smith were just a little bit more insulting on the court, we'd be able to shoehorn him into the squad.