LeBron James applauded the statement Carmelo Anthony made during All-Star Weekend that he would take “a pay cut’’ to stay with the Knicks to help the team’s financial flexibility.

James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh famously each did the same and are working on their third straight NBA title in Miami with a 40-14 record.

“What I got out of it is, he wants to win,’’ James said during the Heat’s practice Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena. “Everyone says they want to win, but that’s what it’s about.’’

The Knicks visit Miami for the first time this season Thursday night in tatters — 15 games below .500 and falling out of the playoff race, 5 ¹/₂ games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

“With the talent they have, you could be ‘Wow, look at their record,’ ’’ James said. “But there’s very good teams in our league and you can’t just base it on last year. You have to play. I think it’s shocking for them. I know their record won’t be the team we play [Thursday].’’

When asked if he was stunned by the free fall that now includes another distraction with Raymond Felton’s gun charge, James said: ”I don’t worry about their franchise. I worry about Carmelo Anthony. I always want him to win and succeed. Obviously he’s been playing great basketball. I don’t like seeing him lose like they’ve been losing, but I really don’t care about the franchise.’’

Unlike Anthony, James rarely has discussed his own upcoming free-agent situation: he, too, can opt out.
“I have already addressed it and that’s it,’’ James said. “I have a lot of things I’m more concerned with than free agency — and that’s this season.’’

James’ “Decision” not to sign with the Knicks after they made every effort to get under the salary cap for two max players in 2010 has proved the franchise’s downfall. Still, nobody could predict this season’s collapse after a 54-28 record in 2012-13.

“For a franchise like that, every year they come in it’s always high expectations for the franchise to do well, especially with the caliber players they have,’’ Wade said. “To come off the season where they won 50 games, it is a shock from the standpoint of not being on that same level,” Wade said. “You’d hope to build off what you did the previous year and they haven’t been able to do that in the sense of wins.’’
Wade noticed Anthony was reserved at the All-Star Game despite his record eight 3-pointers.

“He seemed mellow,’’ Wade said. “He’s going through a lot in his life off the court and on the court. He was just chilling and mellow, enjoying the moment with family rather than getting out to the festivals.