Carmelo Anthony met with team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills Tuesday and told them he wants to stay with the Knicks, according to a league source.
“He said he wants to remain in New York and he wants to win in New York,” the source said.
Anthony’s future as a Knick came into question last week after Jackson confidant Charley Rosen wrote that Anthony “has outlived his usefulness in New York” in an Internet column. On Sunday, Anthony indicated he believed those comments were coming from Jackson, prompting him to say, “If they feel that my time in New York is over, then I guess that’s a conversation we should have.”
That conversation happened Tuesday before the Knicks flew to Boston for Wednesday’s game. Earlier Tuesday, another NBA source said Jackson and Mills would meet with Anthony regarding Rosen’s column. The source also said the Knicks still wanted the perennial All-Star “as long as it’s mutual.”
The Knicks got their answer.
But Anthony hadn’t given any indications that he would waive his no-trade clause. The first source said the no-trade clause wasn’t discussed when he met with Jackson. Anthony reiterated he wants to remain with the Knicks after Monday’s one-point loss to the Hawks. “I think I’ve proven that,” he said. “I don’t have to speak on that.”
Even if Anthony decided he wanted to be traded, finding a deal that worked and a team he would go to wouldn’t be easy. He has a 15-percent trade kicker of roughly $9.9 million. It would be divided in half and added to his salary this season and next.
There is no doubt Anthony is frustrated with losing. The Knicks (18-24) could miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year unless they turn things around. It’s compounded by what has transpired with Jackson, and that relationship bears watching. It’s the second time this season they have had a private conversation to clear the air. In December, Jackson essentially called Anthony a ball stopper in an interview with CBS Sports Network.
Anthony posted pictures on Twitter and Instagram that he confirmed were aimed at Jackson. One was a photo of his idol Muhammad Ali with arrows in his body. A few days later, Jackson approached Anthony in Los Angeles. Anthony said they had a brief conversation and that he asked Jackson “why” his name keeps coming up.
“He’s got to be careful with the choice of words that he uses,” Anthony said last month in Los Angeles. “He understands that, he knows that.”
In this situation, Jackson wasn’t quoted and the story wasn’t sourced. But since Rosen — an assistant under Jackson in the now-defunct CBA — has quoted Jackson’s opinions of the players and team the past two seasons, Anthony believed this was his boss’ perspective.
Rosen wrote a follow-up, saying they were his opinions, not Jackson’s. But the damage was done, adding another distraction to a season that has become another eyesore on and off the court. After starting 14-10, the Knicks have dropped 14 of 18 games, falling from third in the East to 11th. The Knicks are 67-139 under Jackson’s watch.
Oddly, when Derek Fisher was fired as coach last February, Jackson cited Fisher’s lack of communication with him as a reason. Jackson hasn’t communicated well with his star player or the fans. Jackson hasn’t spoken to reporters covering the team since Sept. 23, the weekend before training camp began.
After Derrick Rose left the team without permission last week, coach Jeff Hornacek was left to talk about Rose and the subsequent fine the Knicks gave him. Hornacek also had to address why the organization didn’t suspend Rose for going AWOL.
To Anthony’s credit, he hasn’t let the turmoil affect his play. Anthony scored 30 points in Monday’s loss. Afterward, he said his “clarity” comes from playing basketball, and that he didn’t want to make it seem as if he had any problems with the front office.
“There’s nothing between myself and management at this point,” Anthony said.
At this point may be the operative phrase.