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Carmelo Anthony tired of dealing with off-court Knicks drama

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks controls

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks controls the ball against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

BOSTON — Carmelo Anthony gave few details about his meeting with team president Phil Jackson, but it didn’t sound as if he got much clarity or that his relationship with his boss is any better.

“The conversation wasn’t that long,” Anthony said. “We didn’t break bread. We didn’t have an hour conversation. It was a short conversation.”

In that conversation, Anthony reiterated his desire to remain a Knick. He said Wednesday that his focus is on the Knicks and limiting distractions for his teammates. But Anthony is exasperated by dealing with all the off-court drama that he gets pulled into by other people — often by Jackson — and answering questions for Jackson.

“You get tired of it,” Anthony said. “You get tired of it. I have to face you all every day. I’m the one that’s got to have all the answers. I’m the one that’s got to kind of make up something. Even when I don’t want to talk to you all I still talk to you all. It happens. That’s part of the job.”

Anthony is forced to face the media because Jackson hasn’t spoken to reporters covering the team since Sept. 23. Anthony didn’t sound like he’s on the same page with Jackson after talking to him Tuesday.

“We converse when we converse,” he said. “We talk when we talk. Leave it at that.”

It’s no secret their relationship has soured. This is the second time this season Jackson had to speak to Anthony about something that was written or said about him.

An Internet article by Jackson confidant Charley Rosen in which he ripped Anthony and wrote that he “has outlived his usefulness in New York,” led to Tuesday’s chat. Anthony believed that was Jackson’s opinion, and said on Sunday, “If they feel that my time in New York is over, then I guess that’s a conversation we should have.”

Anthony told Jackson Tuesday that he doesn’t want to leave the Knicks. It’s Anthony’s call since Jackson gave him a no-trade clause and a 15-percent trade kicker that makes him very difficult to move.

“I’m committed,” Anthony said. “I don’t have to prove that to anybody. I don’t think I have to prove that to anybody. I don’t think I have to keep saying that. I don’t think I have to keep talking about that. I know for a fact that people see that.

“Right now my focus is on playing basketball and staying with these guys because a lot of these guys never dealt with all of this stuff before . . . So for me it’s all about being there more so than ever right now during this time . . . ”

Anthony said Jackson didn’t speak to him about Rosen’s article or tell him those weren’t his opinions.

“No,” Anthony said. “At this point I don’t need to hear that. I don’t need to hear it was him or it wasn’t him.”

In an interview with CBS Sports Network in December, Jackson essentially called Anthony a ball-stopper, which led to another brief conversation in Los Angeles. Anthony said he asked Jackson “why” his name keeps coming up, but not this time.

“I’m done asking why,” Anthony said. “My focus is playing ball at this point.”

Anthony also declined to say he’s disappointed that these types of things continue to happen.

“It is what it is,” he said. “My focus is these guys. That’s all I care at this point and making sure these guys are staying strong, staying positive and keeping their head on right and not letting everything else be a distraction to them.”

When Anthony signed his five-year, $124-million contract in 2014 he believed Jackson had a plan to make the Knicks into a championship contender. They’ve missed the playoffs three straight years, going on four if things don’t turn around.

He couldn’t have foreseen these struggles or turmoil, but Anthony is happy to have a no-trade clause.

“As players you always want to protect yourself,” Anthony said. “I didn’t think it would get to this point. I think as a player if you can get that you have a right to protect yourself and take care of yourself when it comes to that. It’s very hard to get, very difficult to get. I have it and that’s that.”

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