Reminded that the four teams the Knicks need to pass in the playoff standings made moves before the trade deadline and his team didn’t, Carmelo Anthony smiled. But he didn’t express frustration that team president Phil Jackson stood pat.
“I don’t want to say discouraging or disappointing, but I really don’t know what we could have done,” Anthony said at the Friday morning shootaround in Brooklyn. “I haven’t had any conversations with those guys. I don’t really know the logistics of what could have happened or why it didn’t happen. At this point, that’s not even my question. My point now is just focusing on basketball.”
The Hornets, Pistons, Wizards and Magic made deals, but Anthony said he wasn’t expecting the Knicks to make any moves. They were looking to upgrade at point guard and for help on the perimeter, but with few assets to trade, nothing materialized.
Anthony said he has to believe the Knicks have enough to make up the five games they’re behind in the standings.
“We have to,” Anthony said. “At this point, we have to believe in what we have right now. We didn’t make any moves. For whatever reasons, we didn’t make any moves. We got to believe in this group. I got to believe in this group even more now.”
The Knicks (23-32) began the post-All-Star break schedule Friday night against the Nets and have 26 games remaining after that. If the Knicks are going to make a playoff run, Anthony knows he’s going to have to raise his game and stay healthy.
“I got to do everything,” he said, “everything and more at this point. It’s win or go home at this point. It’s no excuses, no excuses now for myself and everybody else. We got to tighten this thing up and make a push.”
Anthony said the soreness in his surgically repaired left knee has subsided, thanks to rest, rehab and treatment. But the Knicks come back from the break with a back-to-back and three games in four nights, so Anthony’s knee could be tested.
“It has gotten better,” he said. “I’m pretty sure that the week that I was able to take off, get away from the game, get away from basketball and rehab a little bit was helpful. The last two practices we had, felt it a little bit, but nothing major. I was able to get through multiple practices, no reaction to that. For me, it’s taking it one game at a time, day by day at this point.”