GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The Knicks' sluggish start and all the drama engulfing them haven't changed Carmelo Anthony's thinking -- yet.
Anthony, who has said he will opt out of his contract in the summer, is not planning his exit strategy. His focus is on fixing the Knicks.
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"I'm not even thinking about contracts or [stuff] like that," Anthony said after practice Monday. "I'll think about that in the offseason. Right now, my duty is to lead this team to win some basketball games, hopefully to win a championship. That's my duty. Nobody should be worried about Carmelo Anthony."
There are plenty of reasons for Anthony to be worried about the Knicks, though.
Anthony questioned the Knicks' effort after Saturday's 110-90 loss to Atlanta, their fifth straight home loss, dropping them to 3-6 heading into Tuesday night's game at Detroit.
As the losses mount, so do the trade rumors involving Iman Shumpert, who had a procedure on his left knee over the summer that wasn't known until Sunday.
The Knicks would like to acquire Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. But without a first-round pick that they can trade until 2018, it will make any deal for a marquee player difficult.
One report said Boston would be willing to acquire Amar'e Stoudemire if the Knicks took back Gerald Wallace and Courtney Lee, both of whom signed through 2015-16. Stoudemire's deal is up after next season. There has been no indication, however, that the Celtics would deal Rondo to the Knicks.
But it just adds to the unsettling atmosphere surrounding this team right now.
"It's a lot going on," Anthony said. "I didn't believe we would be going through this right now. It happens every season, you go through spurts. It's happened to us early in the season and everybody's kind of shaken up a little bit, not knowing how to figure it out, not knowing what's going on. I don't know if it's a lot of distractions or things like that but I don't want to make excuses because we're just not putting forth the effort."
Mike Woodson said "it's not panic time," but he's "a little irritated" that the Knicks are having an effort issue. Woodson is planning a lineup change Tuesday.
Since the Pistons start a big front line, Woodson could go with Anthony, Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin. He said he hasn't decided whether Shumpert or J.R. Smith would start at shooting guard.
It would make more sense to bring Smith, who's 7-for-34 in his last two starts, off the bench since the Knicks' second unit has struggled to score. But Shumpert doesn't seem to be in the Knicks' plans and he's off to a slow start, too, averaging 8.3 points and shooting 41.3 percent. But Woodson said it's not because of the offseason knee surgery.
"It wasn't the knee," Woodson said. "He had a little calf injury when he got into camp. That's the only thing that really slowed him down. It's not just Iman. I think it's a total team effort. We just got to keep working, man. That's the name of the game. It's too early in the game to throw in the towel. A lot of basketball still to be played."
Notes & quotes: Metta World Peace didn't accompany the team to Detroit. Woodson said it was because of the death of World Peace's sister, but the Knicks said he's dealing with a sore left knee. . . . Chris Smith was sent down to the Knicks' D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.
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