For the New York Knicks, this season was going to mark the beginning of something special, or at the very least, a return to the land of league-wide relevance.
Barely three months into the season, it’s safe to say that the high-priced overhaul spearheaded by team president Phil Jackson is an undeniable disaster. But rather than cutting ties with one of the newcomers or adding some help ahead of next month’s trade deadline, the Knicks are shopping their superstar, and it looks like Carmelo Anthony’s time in New York is about to come to a very sudden end.
Unbelievably, New York’s ongoing free-fall probably wouldn’t have led the Knicks to actively shop Anthony if he hadn’t chosen to do a little leisurely reading. Last week, Anthony voiced his displeasure over an article written by columnist and Jackson biographer Charley Rosen that essentially concluded that it was time for the Knicks to get rid of the nine-time all-star.
Like an angry adolescent, Jackson needlessly came to the aid of his confidant, deciding that Anthony’s criticism somehow meant that he suddenly wanted out. Despite restating his desire to remain in New York while meeting with The Zen Master, trade-related rumors have been hogging the headlines ever since.
After meeting with Jackson to restate his commitment to the Knicks, Anthony repeated the process with the media.
“I’m committed. I don’t have to prove that to anybody,” said Anthony. “I don’t think I have to keep saying that. I don’t think I have to keep talking about that. I know for a fact that people see that.”
During his first three years in New York, Anthony delivered a trio of consecutive playoff appearances, however, the Knicks have been couch surfing come playoff time in each of the last three years, and Anthony has become a somewhat stationary jump-shooter who takes too many shots and plays a ton of one-on-one basketball while defensively contributing very little.
Last Friday’s win over the Charlotte Hornets painted a fairly accurate picture of the player Anthony is today. While he scored a team-high 18 points in the victory, Anthony shot a nauseating 8-26 from the field and a useless 1-7 from long-range. His 11 rebounds—all defensive, nearly doubled his average of 6.2 boards per game, but Anthony also finished without a single assist, no steals, and only one block while playing shaky defense and hearing it from the home crowd.
That’s the player that the Knicks re-signed to a monster, five-year contract extension in the summer of 2014. In terms of production, the 22.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game that Anthony is currently averaging aren’t far from his career marks of 24.8 points and 6.8 rebounds a night. And as we saw during Sunday’s four-overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks in which he finished with a season-high 45 points and scored the game-tying bucket at the end of regulation, Anthony can still carry this team.
But trading Anthony suddenly seems to be the only thing that Jackson’s Knicks are willing to do to turn things around. Logistically, dealing Anthony to a team he’d actually waive his no-trade clause for won’t be easy, and a litany of variables make it almost impossible for the Knicks to get fair market value for their resident superstar.
While Anthony is one of only three players to have a no-trade clause that allows him to veto any potential deal, he admitted that he’d consider leaving if the Knicks want to move on.
“I think it will be more on the front office,” said Anthony. “I have the power, but still I would talk to them. We would be in communication if they feel like they want to go in a different direction, they want to start rebuilding for the future. If they tell me they want to scrap this whole thing, yeah, I have to consider it.”
So far, New York has failed to talk any team into trading for Anthony—a fact that says a lot about his value beyond the five boroughs. The Cleveland Cavaliers were nowhere near interested in a Anthony for Kevin Love swap, the L.A. Clippers aren’t willing to part with a single member of their three-headed monster, and the Boston Celtics took the time to tell the Knicks that they’re not interested before an offer was even made.
The potential three-team deal that the Clippers are reportedly attempting to orchestrate is the only rumored option that might appeal to Anthony—and thus far, the best chance the Knicks have to get a player who’d actually help them now. Unfortunately, at worst, Anthony is only part of the problem, and if the Knicks really want to move forward, saying goodbye to both Anthony and Jackson is the only way.
Carmelo Anthony Warned Chris Paul About Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers’ forward Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul have both spent time with the Houston Rockets, and both had unceremonious exits from the organization.
But upon his exit from the Rockets after only 10 games, Anthony says that his experience prompted him to warn his close friend Paul to “be careful” with the Rockets organization, who ended up trading Paul a few days after general manager Daryl Morrey told Paul they weren’t going to trade him.
Anthony wasn’t shocked at how things played out for Paul in Houston.
“No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Anthony said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “When my situation happened in Houston, he was the first person that I called to come to my room. And we had to clear some things up, and I wanted to know if he had anything to do with it. And that was the first thing that I wanted to know, and he told me, ‘No.’ And from that point on, I told him, looked him in his eyes and said, ‘Look, just be careful.’ You know what I mean? Just be careful. And damn sure if [the same situation] didn’t happen to him.”
Paul was dealt to the Thunder over the summer in package that brought point guard Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.
“I was shocked,” Paul said, according to The Undefeated. “Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade, and he said he wasn’t going to trade me [to Oklahoma City]. That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.”
“I haven’t talked to nobody in their organization, no,” Anthony said. “I’m not angry. I’m not bitter at it. It happens. I wish I had an explanation when it happened, but I’m past it.”
Anthony also discussed a potential vibe around the league that the Rockets may not forthcoming, with the situations involving he and Paul as examples as to why some may be weary with the Rockets organization.
“Well, nobody has an answer, right?” Anthony said. “My situation and Chris’ situation is totally different, but nobody has an answer. Like, nobody really has an answer for my situation. Still. The only people that know is me. Me and them. That’s it. And I don’t even think they know. It’s just something that was already established before I even got there. It was on a trial-run basis. You look back at it, and 10 games is an evaluation. So that’s the business, right? You see New York have a press conference eight games in, 10 games. So that’s the new analytics. That’s the new game. Everything’s based off of your first 10 games. And once you know that, it gives you clarity on a lot of things.”
Anthony says that he did speak to Paul following Paul’s trade to the Thunder.
“No, he didn’t say I was right,” Anthony said. “He was in Vegas when all of that happened, so we was talking. And when I talked to him, he was like, ‘Man, look, I understand it. It’s messed up, but I understand it.’ And for me, I’m like, ‘Yo, it took me months to kind of, like, get past that.’ My pride was hit. My ego was hit. I had to really get past that. To a point where it was like, ‘Man, Chris, is you good?’ I wanted to make sure he was good. So he told me he was good, and that was that.”
Lakers’ LeBron James Praises Luke Walton
Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar forward LeBron James is praising former Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton, who is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, when the Kings came in to play the Lakers on Friday.
James says that with all the devastating injuries and the non-stop distractions of the constant trade rumors, Walton “did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances”, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
Walton was the head coach during James’ first season with the Lakers in 2018-2019 and led the team to a 37-45 record, missing the playoffs.
“Throughout everything that was going on, we were two of the guys that just tried to remain positive and patient, even with the circumstances that we had,” James said during shootaround on Friday.
James reflected on the challenges of last season, pointing to key injuries as contributing factors to the disappointing season.
“I mean, we were right where we wanted to be on Dec. 25, went up into Golden State and played against a very good team and had a very good game,” James said. “And then the injury happened and I’m out 6½ weeks.
“I don’t think anyone could have predicted that, including myself and including Luke. And we were just behind the eight ball. But throughout it all we just tried to remain positive, even throughout with the young guys, with the older guys and whatever the case may be. So I think he did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances.”
“Um, I agree with LeBron,” Walton said. “[There’s] a longer answer and I’ve spent time reflecting on last season, but for now, couple of hours before a game, it is more focused on tonight’s task and our game planning and rotations and things like that.”
Walton is now at the helm in Sacramento, but he talked about how special it is to return to Los Angeles, even on the opposing side.
“It’s always a special place for me to come into this building,” Walton said. “I have a lot of great memories in L.A. It’s a great opportunity playing here and coaching here.”
“LeBron, he’s one of the greatest players of all time if not the greatest,” Walton said. “So I’m sure last year getting hurt, not making the playoffs, I mean, he’s going right now. And this team kind of follows that lead. They’re playing incredibly well. Their defense and offense starts with him. He looks really good.”
Blazers Signing Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is heading back to the NBA, as the Portland Trail Blazers are signing the veteran forward to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Anthony, 35, who has been out of the NBA for over a year, has been in contact with the team, via his representation, since the preseason with conversations picking up over the course of the last few days.
Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey and Blazers’ head coach Terry Stotts talked directly with Anthony on Thursday before reaching an agreement.
The Blazers have struggled to start the season, posting a 4-8 record, and are preparing to embark on a six-game road trip that starts on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.
The addition of Anthony helps soften the blow of the loss of Zach Collins to a shoulder injury.
Anthony, a 10-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA player, last played for the Houston Rockets, in a short 10-game stint during the 2018-2019 season.
Anthony’s reluctance to play a reserve role put a lot of teams off, but maybe he has a roled carved out for him, that appeases both parties, with the Blazers.
Only time will tell.
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