Carmelo Anthony’s stance hasn’t changed. He wants to remain a Knick. But in an exclusive interview with Newsday, the Knicks star said he would consider leaving if that’s what the front office wanted.
Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract, but he said he would be willing to listen to management if they told him they wanted to make a change.
“I think it will be more on the front office,” Anthony told Newsday this week. “I have the power, but still I would talk to them. We would be in communication if they feel like they want to go in a different direction, they want to start rebuilding for the future. If they tell me they want to scrap this whole thing, yeah, I have to consider it.”
The Knicks declined to comment.
Anthony, 32, made it clear that he isn’t thinking about going anywhere. He and his family love it in New York, and his son is in school here. “We’re settled,” Anthony said.
Although things are unsettled with the Knicks, Anthony remains committed. He’s put ting aside his differences with team president Phil Jackson and focusing on turning things around.
The Knicks (19-25) have lost 12 of their last 15 games and are in danger of missing the postseason for a fourth straight year. They are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, two games out of a playoff spot.
It would be easy for Anthony, who signed a five-year contract in July 2014, to look for a more stable, winning environment. But he said he doesn’t want to turn his back on his team right now or make it all about him.
“It’s hard for me to think about that right now,” he said. “When you’re in the middle of battling, whether we’re winning or losing, me personally, it’s hard to even sit down and say, ‘[Expletive], I want to get out of here.’
“There’s a part of me that also would feel like I’m being selfish to the guys that are on the team right now, in the midst of us losing, to just try to figure a way to escape from everything. For me personally, it would be more of something I would real ly have to think about and consider. Put it all on the table and figure it out.”
Anthony knows his name will come up before the NBA’s Feb. 23 trade deadline. If nothing happens by then, he will have more time over the summer to talk about it with his family, who will have a say in his decision.
But his future has become a topic after Jackson confidant Charley Rosen wrote an Internet column stating that “Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York.” Anthony believed that was Jackson’s opinion, and said, “If they feel that my time in New York is over, then I guess that’s a conversation we should have.”
They had a brief conversation Tuesday, with Anthony telling Jackson he wants to stay with the Knicks.
When Anthony was asked if it seems as if the Knicks are trying to push him out, he laughed and said, “I won’t speak on that.”
A league source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said before the Tuesday meeting that the Knicks want Anthony to stay “as long as it’s mutual.”
Jackson spoke briefly with reporters Thursday at the Garden but wouldn’t address a question about Anthony.
If Anthony did agree to waive his no-trade clause, a popular belief is that he would accept trades to play with the Cavaliers’ LeBron James or the Clippers’ Chris Paul. The Celtics make sense; they could use another scorer and have assets and draft picks that could entice the Knicks.
Anthony has a 15-percent trade kicker in his contract that could make him difficult to move. It’s worth roughly $9.9 million and would be split in half and added to his salary this season and next.
Anthony said he’s repeatedly proved his loyalty and commitment to the team and organization. He bristles at the idea that he doesn’t care about winning because if that were the case, he already would have asked for a trade.
“Hell, no. Not at all,” Anthony said. “Everything I’ve built myself on has been about winning. I want to win here in New York. If that time comes when it’s time for me to really figure out what’s my next move, leaving or not, then I’ll figure it out.”