Bryant believes it’s now up to Anthony — long the s…

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But Bryant says he and Jackson are very close now and credits his longtime coach for helping him see basketball at a higher level. “You can’t enjoy the springtime without having an awful winter,” Bryant said. “You’ve got to go through those things. It’s just a matter of do you want to stay together and work those things out, and be determined to build a championship team? Or do you want to go separate ways.”
Anthony, if he so wishes, could be at the heart of their makeover. According to sources, the Clippers were interested in obtaining Anthony before the Feb. 23 trade deadline, but the Knicks turned down all of their offers — none of it making sense for Jackson at the time. More options will spring open this summer, including Redick’s free agency. With the Knicks lacking 3-point prowess, Redick is a 3-point marksman who wasn’t made available in January and February.
With the Celtics fading in the first round, the chances of Carmelo Anthony wearing green are increasing. According to an NBA source, the Celtics coaching staff was in favor of trading for Anthony at the trade deadline, but general manager Danny Ainge had too many reservations. One of Ainge’s concerns, according to a source, was an Anthony trade would have given Boston no real cap space to work with for the 2017 free-agent class.
The Post has learned that in talks with the Celtics, their defensive small forward Jae Crowder would be a major player of interest for Knicks president Phil Jackson. In fact, Jackson lamented not trading for Crowder when he was on the table in the 2014 trade talks with the Mavericks for Tyson Chandler. Crowder is an active, gritty defender who can shoot from 3-point range.
Jackson trumpeted his desire to move Anthony last week — so heavily that he drew a rebuke from the players association, which reported him to the NBA commissioner’s office. A source specified the technical reason for Jackson’s desire to move Anthony, whose style is so rooted in isolation play. It damaged chemistry and prevented Jackson’s move-the-ball-to-the-open-man philosophy, the source said.
We're told the couple's had ups and downs in the past, but the current NBA season has been extremely stressful on the marriage for several months. Carmelo's been plagued by trade talks ... with the Knicks looking to move him to another team.
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."
Barring something unforeseen -- such as a highly unlikely scenario in which Jackson and Anthony find common ground during their exit meeting on Thursday -- the Knicks remain committed to moving Anthony this offseason, according to league sources.
No matter what is said publicly, some in the organization believe the only thing that would keep Anthony on the Knicks in 2017-18 is if owner James Dolan fires team president Phil Jackson, which is now highly unlikely, since the Knicks and Jackson quietly picked up their option on the remaining two years of his contract this spring, sources familiar with the situation told 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."
The back-and-forth between Anthony, Hornacek and Rambis in March was but one example of the instability that plagued the 2016-17 Knicks. It typified a divide caused by some players' lack of faith in the defensive game plan under associate head coach Rambis and Hornacek's use of the triangle offense, according to sources.
Carmelo Anthony knows there is a possibility the Knicks could again look to trade him this offseason. "They might," he said after the Knicks' season finale on Wednesday. "They might."
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.”
“I would love to be back,” Anthony said. “But there’s some things I would love to see different. Kind of just the mentality, just a winning mentality and wanting to win and being committed to that.”
Anthony has a no-trade clause. But the Knicks and Anthony have been on the road to a divorce for the last couple of months. Team president Phil Jackson tried to move Anthony before the Feb. 23 trade deadline, and took shots at him in an interview with and on Twitter. Anthony appears worn down by the losing and how Jackson has alienated him.
Anthony will have missed seven of the last 11 games with what the Knicks (30-51) called knee and back issues. He’s also granted fewer interviews with the media. Later this week, Anthony will have his exit meeting with Jackson, Hornacek and general manager Steve Mills. Anthony said “the chips will be on the table.”
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.”
“It was roller coaster, everything he had to go through,’’ Jennings said. “It was unfair to wake up every day hearing he might be gone. That was one of the wildest things I’ve seen. Everyone was on their phones checking. It definitely took a toll on the team.”
Anthony has taken the high road throughout the season, but the exit interview likely will not be so polite. "Pretty sure the chips will be on the table,” Anthony said. “The chips will be on the table in that meeting. Honestly, I don't know what to expect but I got a good feeling. Yeah, the chips will be on the table.” Jackson, passing reporters in the hallway after this, declined requests for comment.
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.”
The biggest issue surrounding the Knicks this summer and going forward is Carmelo Anthony's future with the club. The Knicks shopped Anthony in trade talks before the deadline and, barring an unforeseen change of course, remain committed to moving Anthony in the offseason, per sources.
Anthony, of course, has a no-trade clause, so he controls his future. The market for Anthony this summer is unclear at the moment, but before the deadline, some members of the Los Angeles Clippers organization expressed confidence that they could trade for Anthony over the summer, per sources.
When the trade deadline passed and Anthony changed neither uniform nor zip code, as he suspected all along, it seemed logical to assume the drama was done. “Nah, this is New York. There’s always drama,” Anthony said.
New York talked to at least three teams -- the Celtics, Clippers and Cavaliers -- about potential Anthony deals in the weeks leading up to the deadline. Anthony, of course, has a no-trade clause and had strongly suggested that he had no plans to waive it. So it wasn’t a huge surprise that Anthony remained a Knick after the deadline.
The Knicks had few discussions about Anthony recently and were limited by the teams they could speak to. They also admire Anthony’s willingness to be a Knick — which GM Steve Mills believes is a strong quality. Anthony’s situation also will likely be readdressed this summer, especially if the Knicks peter out.
If nothing happens by Thursday, that doesn’t necessarily mean the trade rumors surrounding Anthony will subside. If he doesn't agree to be traded by Thursday, some in the Clippers organization believe Anthony will be willing to waive his no-trade clause and come to Los Angeles to join Chris Paul this summer, per league sources with knowledge of the situation.
Neuro: @stevekylerNBA What's your feeling on the Melo to Celtics rumours? Steve Kyler: Celtics not interested and Melo not open to a trade #thesearenotthedroidsyouarelookingfor
Knicks general manager Steve Mills was in town for All-Star Weekend, and it doesn’t appear he’s here to finalize divorce proceedings with Carmelo Anthony. According to a source who has spoken to Knicks officials, the odds are heavily against the team dealing Anthony by Thursday’s deadline. Anything that’s been discussed probably has not been attractive enough, plus Anthony can block any deal that is not to Los Angeles, his preferred destination.
Anthony holds a no-trade clause and it's unclear he would waive it (he has said he wants to stay in New York). Also, his salary is so high the Cavs would need to part with several roster players and likely find a third team. They have said privately they do not intend to trade the injured Kevin Love to the Knicks for Anthony.
But the Knicks -- and more to the point, team president Phil Jackson -- may be so desperate to move him by Thursday (as an aside, the Cavs and Knicks play each other that night in Cleveland), there is a feeling inside the league that they would way offers for lesser players from teams, including potentially the Cavs.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As of right now, Carmelo Anthony’s intentions, sources tell me, is to remain in New York. He hasn’t been brought any deal in recent days. Even here in the All-Star weekend, the Knicks have not brought anything to his group that would inspire him to really want to waive this no-trade clause.
Given that they’re sharing a locker room together, that could change this weekend. But when Anthony was asked if he would be reinvigorated by a change of scenery, he called it a “set-up question.” “It’s kind of hard at this point,” Anthony said. “I’ll have some time after the break to evaluate that.”
“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 in the organization believe that Anthony won't want to give Jackson the satisfaction of running him out of town. Anthony on Wednesday didn't sound like a player who was ready to leave. He talked about wanting to recruit free agents to New York when asked about the subject; he also acknowledged that he still holds out hope of one day playing with the Clippers' Chris Paul and the Bulls' Dwyane Wade. "A dream," Anthony called it.
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.”
Alex Kennedy: Interesting theory I heard from a GM: DEN wants a star/has assets. Carmelo cares about his "story" and legacy. Could DEN return be possible? I know it doesn't fit the Carmelo-to-a-contender narrative, but it's an interesting scenario I wanted to share.
Dan Con: Seems like the Melo talk has died down past couple days. Do you think he stays with NYK for remainder of season? - Steve Kyler: Talks died because Melo not open to being traded. I have said from the start, I don't think he'll agree to a trade midseason.
The Hawks have an expiring contract they can offer in injury-prone center Tiago Splitter, who is making $8.5 million in the last year of his contract. La La Anthony is also an Atlanta native who is close friends with rapper/actor Ludacris and singer Ciara. The Hawks, however, don’t appear interested in making a major roster move before the trade deadline, a source said. Even so, ATL could be for Melo, shawty.
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson’s public campaign to pressure Carmelo Anthony into waiving his no-trade clause is working to harden Anthony’s resolve to remain with the franchise, league sources told The Vertical. “[Jackson’s underestimating ‘Melo’s willingness to stay,” a source familiar with Anthony’s thinking told The Vertical.
Anthony has privately told teammates, too: He refuses to let Jackson run him out of the Knicks. The Knicks have contacted three teams – the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers – about possible Anthony trades. The Clippers and Cavaliers have interest, but only in cobbling together packages that include role players, league sources told The Vertical.
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."
Sources told Stein and Shelburne the Cavaliers maintain an interest in Anthony, but only if a deal can be struck without the Cavs surrendering Love. Anthony has a no-trade clause and would need to waive it before any deal can be consummated.
Storyline: Carmelo Anthony Trade?
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