GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Carmelo Anthony plans to return Tuesday night from a back injury that sidelined him the last two games, but he didn’t sound ready to say he will return to the Knicks next season.
With his future in question, these could be Anthony’s final five games with the Knicks. He said he hasn’t thought about it yet, but he wouldn’t rule out that possibility.
“I haven’t put that in perspective yet, maybe as the last couple of games come down,” Anthony said after practice Monday. “Maybe it’ll cross my mind, not right now.”
The Knicks, who will host the Bulls on Tuesday night, tried to move Anthony before the Feb. 23 trade deadline and are expected to again look to deal him this offseason.
Anthony, who will be 33 next month, has a no-trade clause, but after missing out on the postseason the last four years, he might welcome a change of scenery. He said he’s trying “to find the joy in playing basketball again.”
It’s no secret that Anthony and team president Phil Jackson have a rocky relationship. Jackson took some shots at Anthony in an interview with CBS Sports Network in December and on Twitter just before the trade deadline.
Last week, Scottie Pippen, who played for Jackson with the Bulls, said on ESPN that Jackson is the reason for the Knicks’ failures and shouldn’t be back as president. Pippen also praised Anthony for being professional.
When asked about Pippen’s remarks, Anthony smiled.
“I think in this situation, everybody has an opinion,” he said. “I’m just glad people speaking up, whether it’s good or bad, people are speaking up, having their own opinion, rather than me trying to convince or not convince people of the situation or what’s going on and I could just play basketball. Everybody else sees what’s going on, so they’re going to have an opinion.”
Jackson walked away from reporters when asked for a comment.
Anthony has been cryptic recently. Last week, he said he didn’t know his role before saying he can “see the writing on the wall.” He was asked to elaborate but wouldn’t.
“I see the writing on the wall,” he said. “You don’t know what writing is on the wall, though, but I see what writing is on the wall. You know I’m not going to tell you that. You can’t reach.”
It should make for an interesting exit interview when Anthony sits down with Jackson toward the end of next week. In past postseason meetings, Anthony has wanted to know the direction of the team. He sounded as if he’s looking forward to expressing himself this time.
“The chips will be on the table in that meeting,” Anthony said. “Honestly, I don’t know what to expect, but I got a good feeling.”
Until then, he isn’t sure how many of the remaining games he’ll play in, but he’ll try to enjoy his time on the court — which could be his last as a Knick after six-plus seasons.
“I’m going to go out there and play,” he said. “I’m going to play basketball. It’s the game that I always played and had fun and enjoyed. Although it hasn’t been as fun as I wanted it to be and trying to find the joy in playing the game again. These last couple of games is something that I’ll go out there and play. When I’m out there, I’ll play hard and see what happens and enjoy it again.”