Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony reflected on his time with New York and questioned if the team will be a contender with the franchise.
"Honestly, I think about it a lot," he told the New York Daily News' Frank Isola prior to Monday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. "... I think about it. I think about here, I think postseason, I think about my teammates. I just think about everything."
Since Anthony joined the Knicks in the 2010-11 season, the team has won just one postseason series and has missed the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, going through four different head coaches during that time.
Currently in the third year of a five-year, $124 million max deal, Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract, however the Knicks shopped Anthony during February's trade deadline and remain committed to trading him in the offseason, according to ESPN's Ian Begley.
Anthony himself acknowledged he heard rumblings about possibly being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers during the deadline, however he added he tried to focus on basketball instead of trade rumors and reiterated his commitment to the Knicks.
"There was an opportunity during the deadline," Anthony told Isola. "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 Knicks, who have lost 29 of their last 40 games, are 6 1/2 games out of a playoff spot with 13 games to play. While Anthony said he wants to be a playoff contender, he said he doesn't look to other players' situations.
"I want to be there," Anthony said to Isola about the postseason. "So I don't have to look at somebody else's situation and say oh, I miss that or I want that or I need that. Like, it is what it is. That's a part of who I've -- over my 14 years -- I've made myself part of that. Pride myself on that, in wanting to be in those situations."
It's no surprise Anthony has been continuously linked to Los Angeles when pondering a landing spot after New York. The city boasts the same bright lights for he and his family to bask in. They've already made it a long-time home, and Anthony would fit right in with the Clippers alongside good friend Chris Paul and Olympic teammate DeAndre Jordan. It doesn't hurt that Anthony has an advocate in former head coach Mike Woodson, now a Clippers assistant. Anthony had his best year as a Knick under Woodson and there's no doubt he could thrive playing on such a talented and offensively enthusiastic squad.
He has loyalty to the Knicks and obviously still has a desire to win while donning orange and blue. Unfortunately, such a possibility seems as bleak now as ever. Phil Jackson went all in, surrounding Anthony with veteran talent this season. Now, the team is in a tough spot as it looks to regroup. The Knicks have less flexibility to do so moving forward, because of the risk the front office took last summer.
Such a risk was taken, all with Anthony in mind. The team failed, and as this group's centerpiece, he must shoulder some of the blame. It's time to move on. The longer New York continues to wait, the worse off the franchise will continue to be. As if Anthony's no-trade cause (and subsequent trade kicker) aren't enough to play a role, his value has seemingly gone down due to his inability to win. New York has held out, not only due to a hope that it can still win with him, but also because the possible trade scenarios out there aren't very promising.
At this point, addition by subtraction (and the opportunity to start fresh for both parties) is looking like an awfully valuable strategy as the Knicks continue to flounder. The return value back for Anthony isn't as meaningful. Gaining some flexibility with him off the books would alone allow this team to begin its next chapter. Sending him to the Clippers could provide both Anthony and the Knicks with what they want.