Carmelo Anthony is expected at Knicks training camp come Monday, but the team's front office hasn't ruled out trading him.
"Our plan is that Carmelo will be with us on Monday on marketing day and media day and be with us on Tuesday when we start practicing," Knicks president Steve Mills said Friday at the team's training facility.
The Knicks were unable to move Anthony this summer, but new GM Scott Perry said he's still fielding calls. Portland and Houston are among the teams that have been linked to Anthony, who has two years and approximately $54 million remaining on his contract.
"I think in our position you always keep an open mind," Perry said. "Part of my job is to help this team get better in any way that we can. So we're going to continue to do that on a daily basis, whether it's entertaining calls or obviously internal development is going to be important for us. My job is to help this team get better in any way that we can, in any of the means that are available to us."
Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek, who plans to run a more up-tempo offense in the post Phil Jackson-triangle offense, said Anthony will likely continue to start.
"If you think I'm not going to start him you're crazy," Hornacek said of Anthony, who averaged 22.4 points and 5.9 rebounds last season. "He's a great player, he still is and he's going to lend a lot to our team. For us, we're assuming he's back."
Anthony has not yet reported to the Knicks' facility for voluntary workouts, preferring instead to work out on his own. Rockets guards Chris Paul and James Harden and Portland's C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard are among those working out with Anthony under developmental coach Chris Brickley. Asked if the trade reports wounded Anthony's pride, Perry declined to comment but said he expected Anthony to be motivated this season.
"Respectfully I won't get into how he felt," he said. "What I will say is Carmelo is a professional. I know he's a very prideful guy. I expect him to play very good basketball when he returns."
With Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Paul Millsap now out of the East, the Knicks would appear to have a better chance to make the playoffs. New Knicks forward Michael Beasley said this week the Knicks could be the No. 5 or 6 seed in the East, but team brass said it was making no guarantees on the postseason.
"I guess he doesn't lack for confidence, I can say that," Perry said of Beasley. "But I would say we want to get better each and every day and I would never put a number on what that looks like. But we want an environment where guys are going to practice every day and going into the locker room for games believing they have a chance to win basketball games. That's ultimately what this is about. And that's how young players grow in this league when they can go in and compete feeling that they have an opportunity to win. If we compete and fight hard every single night. Like I said earlier, we can live with the results."
The Knicks own their first-round pick in a draft expected to be rich with big men like Duke's Marvin Bagley III, Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., Arizona's DeAndre Ayton, and Texas' Mohamed Bamba.
Still, despite the fact that LeBron James remains in Cleveland and Boston now features Kyrie Irving, the East is now weaker with the departures of George, Butler, and Millsap.
That, in turn, could mean the Knicks, with a motivated Anthony, could contend for a playoff spot.
"Look, Carmelo's going to be back here," Perry said. "Carmelo has always been a professional. That's one thing I've always respected about him. I think he can set a good example for the young players. He's been a 10-time All-Star. If he's back here with the New York Knicks, we expect him to be the professional he's always exemplified throughout his career and move forward with him."