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Melo: “Believe it or not,” Lin is “face of Nets franchise”

New York Knicks v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

So how big of a deal is this? Is Marc Berman of the Post trying to stir up some Melo-Linsanity memories or is Carmelo Anthony trying to diss his old teammate, Jeremy Lin.

Back in 2012, as we all know, Knick fans were divided into the Melo and Linsanity camps as Lin exploded on the scene ... while Anthony sat on the bench with one of his nagging injuries.

Now, with Lin about to invade the Garden for a meaningless (truly) preseason game, Berman got Anthony to comment on the Nets decision to pay Lin and give him a certain cache.

“He is the face of their franchise – believe it or not,’’ Anthony said after Friday’s practice. “He came up, they paid him. Now the ball is in his hands. Now he’s one of the franchise players over there.”

“Believe it or not?!” Sounds like a diss. But then, as you read through the rest of Melo’s comments, the tone is softer. Melo seems to get that Berman is trying to goad him.

“I don’t know what you want me to say about that. I’m happy for him, excited for him to see how it’s going to turn out over there.’’

Okay, that seems reasonable. But there is no doubt that the two players’ teammates and coach think Melo was jealous of Linsanity, which in case you forgot was marked by two Sports Illustrated covers, back-to-back.

Back in Feburary, Amare Stoudemire didn’t use the “j” word in discussing the relationship between the two but made it clear that "Everyone wasn't a fan of [Lin] being the new star.”

Then, in July, after the Nets signed Lin, the former Knick coach, Mike D’Antoni said the “resentment” Melo (and Amare!) felt towards Lin was “real.”

And of course, there was Melo’s own comment in 2012 about Lin’s $25 million contract with the Rockets, calling it “ridiculous.”

Lin, of course, is a competitive guy who remembers slights. Last month, he recalled one of his signature moments to a Chinese TV interviewer, when Kobe Bryant asked during the height of Linsanity, “Who is this kid?”

“When I heard (Kobe say what he said), I was like ‘Oh really?’ I got really mad. So I told myself, I’m going to be very, very aggressive today. I’m going to keep shooting."

And he did, scoring 38 points and handing out seven assists in what was THE moment in that two-week period.

But, hey, it’s a preseason game. Doesn’t anything. Right?