The National Basketball Players Association contacted Commissioner Adam Silver to discuss what they say were "inappropriate" comments by Knicks President Phil Jackson regarding Carmelo Anthony.
Jackson had said on Friday that Anthony, who has a full no-trade clause in his contract, would be "better off somewhere else" next season.
"If players under contract cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards," NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said. "The door swings both ways when it comes ot demonstrating loyalty and respect."
Jackson recently met with Anthony, explaining to him during that meeting why he thinks it's time for the two sides to part ways.
"I just said we haven't won here," Jackson recalled telling Anthony. "You don't want to end up your career not winning. ... you want to get to that territory where you have a chance to win."
Jackson added that the Knicks want a "significant" player in exchange for Anthony.
The Knicks discussed potential trades of Anthony during the season, when he met with Jackson to decide whether he would waive his no-trade clause.
It was never revealed if Anthony gave the Knicks a list of teams he would accept a trade to, though the Clippers, Celtics, and Cavaliers were among the teams that reportedly had interest in Anthony.
Jackson also disputed the idea that his comments during the season -- when he stated that Anthony held on to the ball too long -- were critical of Anthony, saying that Anthony holds the ball is "a pure fact, not a criticism."
Anthony, 32, is owed $26.2 million next season and $27.9 million in 2018-19, after which he's eligible for free agency.
The Knicks, who finished the season with a record of 31-51, have failed to make the playoffs each of the last four seasons.
April 14: Anthony stated recently that he could see the writing on the wall. He obviously had a good handle on things.
As Jackson revealed on Friday, Anthony and the Knicks have had continued discussions regarding a potential trade over the course of this season. With yet another failed campaign officially in the books, this track record does not bode well for Anthony or Jackson.
The star forward hasn't stepped up to lead and Jackson failed to complement him with an adequate supporting cast. For Anthony to remain in New York, he'd be wasting his talent and continuing an attempt to beat down a door that doesn't appear close to opening. Anthony has to be surrounded with other players who are capable of playing at a high level and competing for a championship. From the front office's standpoint, it makes sense to move him while he may still be considered an asset. As it is, his failures and less than favorable contract have begun to close that window a bit.
Nevertheless, Jackson did assert that the offseason may give way to some other/better options to accommodate Anthony and the Knicks. It had to have been difficult to negotiate a trade with a contending team in the midst of the season. Incorporating Anthony will take time, and removing any key pieces in the process would have disrupted any competitive rhythm.
Playoff teams aren't keen on rocking the boat. There's no need fixing something that isn't necessarily broken. After getting eliminated from the postseason, however, teams reflect. Anthony could represent a missing link for any number of clubs.
As the Knicks look for other options, potential trade partners may be more flexible in the coming months. What's more, Anthony may be more inclined to accept a deal to an unforeseen location. The offseason will make the transition easier all around.
For fans, this is an opportunity exhale. Many had initial faith in Anthony, but at least at this point the team appears to have somewhat of a direction for the near future. That's more than they were able to say as this season progressed.