Carmelo Anthony looks on during the third quarter of a...

Carmelo Anthony looks on during the third quarter of a game against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Carmelo Anthony had a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that he won't be in the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career. He tried talking about his feelings, but it was as if he were describing his future.

"Everything for me is just cloudy," Anthony said a day after the Knicks officially were eliminated from playoff contention. "I've never been in the situation before. I don't know what to say about this situation. The only thing for me is to stay positive throughout this situation.

"There's going to be a lot of questions that I have, that I'm going to be asking myself: Why this? Why that? I'm pretty sure I won't find no answers anytime soon. We'll see what happens."

Anthony has said he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent in July. Although Phil Jackson is calling the shots now and the Knicks can pay Anthony about $34 million more than any other team can, there are no guarantees he will stay.

He stressed that what happened this season will have nothing to do with his plan to opt out. "Even if we had the greatest of a season, I probably would still be in that situation," he said. But this season and its lingering effects could impact what he does in free agency.

Anthony has said the only thing that drives him is the opportunity to win a title. Despite Amar'e Stoudemire's statement that "on paper, we might be the best team in the league," the Knicks, as constituted, aren't a title contender. They are 35-45 heading into Tuesday night's next-to-last game against the playoff-bound Nets.

It could be that Anthony already has played his last game of the season, and perhaps his Knicks career. He said he might undergo an MRI on his injured right shoulder before the season ends. It bothered him during Sunday's win over Chicago, and it makes no sense for him to continue playing in pain.

Two teams that could pursue Anthony this summer are the Bulls and Rockets. Both have much better rosters than the Knicks. The Lakers have money to throw at him, along with the lure of Los Angeles and the chance to play with his good pal Kobe Bryant. But they're also a team in transition.

The Knicks are expected to have a new coach, but many of the same players could be back if Jackson sticks with the plan of maintaining as much salary-cap room as possible for the summer of 2015.Anthony continues to say Jackson's arrival was a great move, and he looks forward to speaking to him about the future.

"That was a big play," Anthony said. "That was definitely a big play for our organization, for the Knicks, for me. When that time comes, I'm pretty sure everything will be laid out, we would talk about it. Until then, I'm going to feel this way."

Many questions, no answers.

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