Storyline: Carmelo Anthony Trade?

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The size of his payout is imposing, but the contract is down to two years, and maybe less on the (very) slim chance that Anthony exercises his option next summer. “I like Carmelo, I think he takes a bad rap,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “He doesn’t get in trouble, he has put up with a lot from that organization and I think a lot of guys would have lashed out by now. Give him credit for that. But anyone who brings him in has to ask, does he make your team better, looking at everything including his (salary) number? In most cases, that’s going to be no.”

But one Western Conference executive said that the no-trade clause could, essentially, make it easier for the team acquiring Anthony. “Well, for one thing, if he waives the no-trade, you know he is going to be OK with coming (to his new team),” a Western conference executive said. “He is not going against his will. And look at it, everyone has the Knicks over a barrel. They’re just desperate to move the guy. You are not going to have to give up much of anything to get him, just make the salaries match.”
2 weeks ago via ESPN

There may have been speculation that the standoff between Jackson and Melo would end with Jackson walking away or the Knicks declining their option on his deal, but sources told ESPN the options were picked up “awhile ago.” Knicks owner James Dolan publicly reinforced his commitment to Jackson in a February 10 radio interview on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM when he said, ” he planned to honor his five-year contract with Jackson “all the way to the end.”

As the N.B.A.’s trade deadline approached in mid-February, Carmelo Anthony heard the same rumors that everyone else did. He knew he had been shopped around by the Knicks, and that after several months of a public dispute with Phil Jackson, the team president, his future with the organization was murky. Anthony, the Knicks’ star, began to ponder his next steps. “There was a point in time,” he said on Wednesday, “when I didn’t think I would be back here.”

Hornacek said it could work with Anthony returning if he acted more as a veteran leader and the younger players didn’t rely on him too much. But that might not be a role Anthony wants. “It could be beneficial,” Hornacek said. “If a veteran guy with young players, the leadership, the knowledge of the game, they’re going to help in that respect – it could be a positive. It’s a negative if your young guys rely on the veteran to do everything and they don’t move forward. That’s the bad part of it. However it shakes out, if Carmelo is back in that veteran leadership role he’s really got to take to it and help the young guys. We will have a lot of young guys who will be out there.”

When Hornacek was asked how Anthony did this year in that role, he said it was “good at times” and he “helped our young guys some.” Hornacek had some praise for Anthony and how he played, but it was hardly a ringing endorsement. “I think he played more games than I probably anticipated, knowing that he was getting older, with his knee,” he said. “He did a lot of good things. Obviously he can score the ball. He can put it in the hole. He’s a guy along with Derrick [Rose] that late games, veteran guys, that you can go to. They came through sometimes. I thought it’s kind of what we expected. Defensively, he was in the right spot a lot of times. As you get older – he’s got good reactions – but getting back out to somebody, I think our whole team struggled with that this year. We didn’t close out hard enough on a lot of guys. So it’s some things we need to improve on.”

Indeed, the Knicks have a yen for the 6-foot-8 Kansas freshman, whom they have identified as a player with a triangle skill set because of that passing ability. Plus, the Knicks may have to fill a void if Carmelo Anthony is traded. Jackson, who averaged 16.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and three assists per game, doesn’t have an elite jump shot, according to a college scout. He also is not considered a terrific shot-maker, but he does many other things well, including desperately needed on-ball defense.

“No, no, no. Don’t start,” Anthony said when asked if he was thinking about joining the Clippers. “I haven’t thought about it. There was an opportunity during the deadline. There was always talk the past couple of seasons with me somehow being connected, whether it was the Clippers or Lakers. I’ve somehow always been connected. At first it was the Lakers and now it’s the Clippers situation. So I try not to think about that, especially now when I’m still playing with the New York Knicks and got to go out there and prepare to play against these guys.”

“It’s a conversation that can’t happen with one but multiple conversations, and I was looking forward to getting away from the game and exhale a bit and evaluate my situation,’’ Anthony said. “Kind of get away from it.’’ “It was a downer,’’ Anthony added of getting the invite, having said Wednesday he would have declined the offer if not for CBA bylaws. “I had to cancel my trip, and there’s no refund. I can’t get my refund back.’’

Porzingis is not happy with his play the past two months. His dip has coincided with the Knicks’ nosedive, which is why changes could be coming by Thursday’s trade deadline. “That might happen,” Porzingis said before scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to help the World Team beat Team USA, 150-141, in Friday night’s Rising Stars Challenge. “I’m here, I’m trying to relax, but I’m still thinking about the season the whole time. I can’t really disconnect. We’ll see what happens. There might be some changes.”

Some saw a possible chance for desperation in Cleveland, where Kevin Love is lost for six weeks with a knee injury and subsequent surgery. Some around the league feel the Cavs, if indeed interested, might try to wait it out and hope for a bargain if the Knicks really are intent on moving Anthony, and he wants to play with buddy LeBron James and waives his no-trade. The Knicks haven’t really driven up his value, either, with negative tweets and public criticisms from Phil Jackson.

That game will take place on Feb. 23, hours after the trade deadline. And by then, Carmelo Anthony or Derrick Rose or a Knick of lesser note may be with another team, although Coach Jeff Hornacek indicated on Tuesday he didn’t expect any deals. “I think this is going to be our team,” Hornacek said, peering ahead to the second chapter of the season. “We have had good stretches, bad stretches; we are trying to build something here before we go into the break, so I anticipate we have the same team.”

Barkley also criticized New York Knicks president Phil Jackson for his role in the Carmelo Anthony trade fiasco. “He’s trying to piss Carmelo off enough that he accepts a trade. Very simple. Carmelo has a no trade (clause), and he’s trying to make him so mad that he accepts a trade. That’s the only thing it can be. I mean, he gave him a no trade, there’s nothing he can do about it, he wants to start rebuilding and he can’t do it as long as Carmelo’s there.”
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