The Knicks have 25 games left in what appears to be another lost season. It’s not too early to wonder if that also is what’s left in Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks’ career.
Anthony has made it clear that he doesn’t want to leave the Knicks. He’s also made it abundantly clear that he wants to win. It hasn’t worked out how Anthony hoped, so you can’t blame him if he starts to question whether it will.
Lately, Anthony has given plenty of indications that his patience could be wearing thin, especially if the Knicks miss the playoffs for a third straight year.
“Not yet,” was the famous quote Anthony offered last weekend when he was asked whether he’s re-thinking his future. “Not yet.”
It was five years ago Sunday that the Knicks acquired Anthony from Denver. In that time, he’s played for four head coaches, with 68 different teammates, won one playoff series and the Knicks are 181-215.
Since Phil Jackson became president, the Knicks are 40-98. So things have gotten worse instead of better.
Kristaps Porzingis provides hope for the future. But Anthony is in win-now mode, and Jackson didn’t make a deal before Thursday’s trade deadline, didn’t make a move to put them in a better position to win now.
Anthony put his trust in Jackson in 2014 when he signed a five-year $124 million contract. The Knicks could offer the most money — and did — which was undoubtedly important, as was the no-trade clause that Anthony received that gives him all the power.
There could come a point this offseason or by next trade deadline that Anthony decides he would be willing to waive that no-trade clause.
There could come a time when he realizes the best thing for him is to leave or that the Knicks convince him that it’s the best thing for both parties. The Knicks don’t have many assets, including draft picks, and Anthony could get them that. He’s still an elite player and one of the best scorers in the league.
Anthony was asked what it would take for him to consider leaving. He said, “I can’t answer that. That’s hard to answer. I can, but I don’t think I will answer that question.”
OK, we will then.
A chance to play with his best friend Chris Paul with the Clippers, or his buddy LeBron James in Cleveland or his pal Dwyane Wade in Miami certainly would be intriguing if not appealing for Anthony, who will be 32 this spring and has won just three playoff series in his career.
Anthony says he “dreams” of playing with another star. We’ve just laid out three scenarios that fit. Of course Anthony wants it to be with the Knicks. Kevin Durant and Mike Conley, Jr. are on the Knicks radar this summer but that may also be a dream.
The Knicks only have about $18 million in cap space and need to clear some room. They also need to prove they can win to attract players who have gone deep in the playoffs. That remains a challenge for the Knicks and for Anthony.
In a tweet Friday, Anthony wrote “#DestiNY,” so his focus is on New York and trying to get the Knicks to the playoffs. He’s not re-thinking his future — not yet. But that time could be coming sooner than later.
On the Marks
The Nets were smart to go to the Spurs’ tree when they hired Sean Marks as general manager.
San Antonio is the model franchise. Marks — the ex-Spurs assistant GM and assistant coach — should bring some stability to a franchise that needs it.
Brook Lopez has had eight coaches in eight seasons. The Nets have had five since Mikhail Prokhorov became principle owner in 2010. They’ll be looking for a sixth this summer. Marks, a 1998 second-round Knicks’ pick, could select him from Gregg Popovich’s bench.
Spurs assistant Ettore Messina is a strong candidate. The decorated coach from Europe won two Euroleague titles coaching CSKA Moscow when Prokhorov was running it. Former Spurs player and assistant coach Monty Williams and Chip Engelland, who was worked under Popovich since 2005, also could be considered.
The Rockets tried to move Dwight Howard and the Pelicans Ryan Anderson by Thursday. Neither could.
Both will be free agents this summer, and their teams wanted to get something for them before they test the market and probably leave. But teams didn’t want to give up too much for a short-term rental they didn’t think they could re-sign. The same was true for Atlanta’s Al Horford.
It’s also telling that the Thunder didn’t entertain offers for Durant and the Grizzlies for Conley.
The Thunder is hoping to make a title run, but Oklahoma City also must have believe that Durant will re-sign, even if it’s a two-year deal with an opt out in 2017. The Grizzlies must also believe they can keep Conley.
Firing on all Pistons
Detroit was among the deadline winners. The Pistons made moves that will help them make a playoff push and going forward. They acquired former Half-Hallow Hills West star Tobias Harris, Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton in separate deals with Orlando and Houston.
For Harris, the Pistons sent the Magic’s Brandon Jennings — who they weren’t going to re-sign — and Ersan Ilyasova — who they would have bought out this summer.
Harris signed a four-year deal last summer, and his salary decreases the last two years. Detroit has a good young nucleus now with Reggie Jackson, Harris, Andrew Drummond, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris and Stanley Johnson all under contract.
More trade talk
— The Clippers’ last-minute pickup of Jeff Green for Lance Stephenson was a great move by Doc Rivers. They got a versatile, athletic player for someone who didn’t fit.
— Stephenson went to Grizzlies, who also landed Chris “Birdman” Anderson and P.J. Hairston at the deadline. Memphis has a very interesting locker room now with those characters joining the temperamental Matt Barnes.
— The Hornets, like the Pistons, are trying to reach the playoffs and acquiring guard Courtney Lee should help. He’s plays hard on both ends and has worked with Charlotte coach Steve Clifford.
— The Wizards also hope this season ends with a playoff berth and took a chance on talented yet volatile Markieff Morris, getting him from Phoenix for Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair.
— Jennings could help the Magic finish strong since he’s playing for a big contract. But Orlando traded Harris and Channing Frye (to Cleveland) to open up playing time for rookie Mario Hezonja and salary-cap room. The Magic could have about $45 million this summer, and could make a run at Horford.
— The Heat made a few moves to get under the luxury tax, and should have around $37 million for free agency. Miami can lure free agents. The other Florida team hopes it can do the same.
Knicks coaches and their records
during the Carmelo Anthony years:
Coach | Seasons | Record
Mike D’Antoni 2010-11 32-38
*Last night’s game not included