TORONTO — The Knicks are losing, and when that happens, the subject of Carmelo Anthony’s future with the team always comes up with fans and media.
“They want me out?” Anthony asked reporters Sunday after the Knicks’ 116-101 loss to the Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
Except this time the issue wasn’t something a fan or unaffiliated member of the media said. It was an Internet column posted on Thursday by Charley Rosen, a former assistant coach and longtime confidant of Knicks president Phil Jackson.
In the piece, Rosen pretty much eviscerated Anthony, writing that his “legs are going, going, almost gone.” Rosen also opined, “The only sure thing is that Carmelo Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York.”
Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, indicated he thought those comments might be coming from Jackson.
“If that’s the case,” Anthony said, “if that’s what’s coming from that side, then I guess it’s a conversation that we should have. If they feel that my time in New York is over, then I guess that’s a conversation we should have.”
Reminded that Rosen, and not Jackson, was the author, Anthony said: “Listen, if that’s what they feel, if that’s what’s coming from that side, then that’s what’s coming from that side. I haven’t thought once about that, to be honest with you. I hear all the rhetoric that’s going on out there. I still come to work every day and play and bust my [expletive] and try not to worry about it.”
It would be difficult, but not impossible, for the Knicks to trade Anthony to a contender. Rosen, in his article, helpfully suggested seven teams that might want Anthony’s services: the Lakers, Toronto, Oklahoma City, Indiana, Chicago, Atlanta and Portland.
Jackson, who has not spoken to reporters who cover the Knicks since training camp, was critical of Anthony in December. Jackson told CBS Sports Network that Anthony holds the ball too long. It seemed to be an odd remark to make, given that the Knicks were winning at the time.
They are not winning now. Sunday’s defeat was the Knicks’ 10th in their last 12 games, and Anthony is feeling the heat.
“I think I posted that the other day,” he said. “When we lose, it’s me; when we win, it’s us. So it’s not just my mentality. It’s how I feel. It is what it is.”
Anthony, whom Jackson signed to a five-year, $124-million contract before the 2014-15 season, would not say if he would agree to waive his no-trade rights.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” he said. “I guess there’s people talking about it? I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. It’s not something that I’ve thought about. People can have their own opinions. I haven’t spoken about it. I haven’t mentioned it once. Seems that’s been the trend when we start losing. People want to start searching.”
Sunday’s loss dropped the Knicks to 18-23 at the halfway point of the season.
“It’s disappointing,” Anthony said. “It’s not something I’ve thought about right now . . . It’s a disappointment, but what can we do other than change it at this point?”