NEW ORLEANS — Carmelo Anthony had been planning a trip to Puerto Rico with his family so he could unwind, think about his future and discuss whether remaining a Knick is the best thing for him. He said he thinks about it all the time.
But Anthony was picked to replace injured Cavaliers forward Kevin Love in Sunday night’s All-Star Game. So those conversations are on hold for a couple of days and Anthony can’t say how he would like his script to play out for the rest of the season.
“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Anthony said Saturday after the Eastern Conference’s practice. “It would be up in the air. It’s something I have a problem thinking about. To say I don’t think about it, I’d be wrong, I’d be lying to you.
“I think about it. I think about it a lot. I think about what’s best for me, what’s best for the organization and what’s out there. I do think about it. I do think about that stuff.”
The trade deadline is Thursday, and Anthony, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, remains wishy-washy about his future, at least publicly.
In typical Anthony fashion, he said he hopes to be in a Knicks uniform when they play the Cavaliers a few hours after the trade deadline passes Thursday. “I hope so,” he said. “We’ll see what happens, but I plan on being there.”
Yet he continues to keep the door open to leave.
Anthony, who wanted to be on vacation and evaluate his future this weekend, called it “a downer” that he was selected as an injury replacement. But he still said it’s therapeutic being here in a positive environment with people who support him — and away from the distractions surrounding the Knicks.
“I was looking forward to just kind of getting away from the game and kind of exhale a little bit and evaluate my situation,” Anthony said. “Just kind of get away from all of it.
“[But] yeah, this is definitely therapy for me. This is a break for me to come here and not have to deal with my situation or our organization.”
The Knicks could start another rebuilding effort and make Kristaps Porzingis the focal point of the team if they find a trade that appeals to them and Anthony, who can veto any deal.
The Cavaliers, Clippers and Celtics have been most prominently linked to Anthony. A popular belief is that he would sign off on a trade to any of them. They’re all contenders, and the Knicks could miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Besides that, Anthony’s closest NBA friends are the Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Clippers’ Chris Paul, and they’ve always talked about playing together. Boston is a team on the rise and is close enough to New York that Anthony wouldn’t necessarily have to uproot his family.
But Anthony swears he and James haven’t talked about being teammates recently.
“It’s something where we had a conversation in high school, we had a conversation when we were on the USA team together,” Anthony said. “Even though people are thinking we’re talking about it now, we haven’t had one conversation about any of that.”
Given that they’re sharing a locker room together, that could change this weekend. But when Anthony was asked if he would be reinvigorated by a change of scenery, he called it a “set-up question.”
“It’s kind of hard at this point,” Anthony said. “I’ll have some time after the break to evaluate that.”
The good-natured Anthony seems torn and generally tired of all the drama involving him and the organization.
Anthony doesn’t communicate with Phil Jackson often. He has had some arrows slung at him by Jackson in the media, on Twitter and through some writers who are close to the Knicks’ president.
Current and former All-Stars have spoken out on Anthony’s behalf this weekend.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins said he hates to see Anthony be treated with “disrespect.” Warriors forward Draymond Green said, “The way he’s been treated [expletive] me off.”
Hall of Fame finalist Tracy McGrady, a former Knick, said he would handle the situation much differently from Anthony. Praising how Anthony has played and conducted himself, McGrady told reporters, “I’d be looking at [Jackson] every trip down the court or something. Just gazing at him, like, ‘You see the [expletive] that I’m doing out here like every night.’ ”
Anthony said some players have talked to him about what he’s been dealing with, and he appreciates their support. “It feels good,” he said. “To have that support, it means more to me than a lot of other things that’s out there. To have your peers talk highly about you, it’s a respect factor. You accept that respect more than anything.”