Carmelo Anthony may have played his last game as a member of the New York Knicks.
Yes, the Knicks have one tilt left to go, on Wednesday, against the Washington Wizards, but head coach Jeff Hornacek said Anthony will not be a participant, per Newsday‘s Al Iannazzone:
Jeff Hornacek said Anthony probably wouldn’t play in the Knicks’ season finale Wednesday against the Sixers because of the sore left knee that kept him out of the prior two games. Hornacek couldn’t say whether Anthony would be back in a Knicks uniform next season.
“I think it’s all his choice still, isn’t it, with his contract?” Hornacek said following Tuesday’s final practice of the season. “I think every year until guys are gone, coaches, we all assume we have the same team. That’s how you prepare. When something changes you deal with it.”
Hornacek is right. Anthony has a no-trade clause, so he can veto whatever deal the Knicks bring to the table. We know they want to move him; we don’t know whether he actually wants to leave.
That much will be hashed out during his exit interview. Anthony has already said “all the chips
” will be on the table with team president Phil Jackson. It seems likely he’ll want out. How could he not? The Knicks, we think, are rebuilding, we think, this time for real, we think. He will turn 33 at the end of May and hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since 2013. If the Knicks are desperate to move him, and he can basically pick where he goes (sup Clippers?), why wouldn’t he hit the eject button?
Granted, Anthony hasn’t always followed conventional wisdom. Maybe Jackson wants him now that Rose probably won’t be around anymore. Or maybe Anthony just wants to stick to Jackson. Hell, maybe the Knicks don’t want to trade Anthony because they won’t get a good enough return and would rather let his salary come off the books next summer when he presumably terminates the last season of his contract.
We don’t really know what’s going to happen next. But these are the Knicks we’re talking about. No matter the ultimate outcome, there are bound to be a plethora of twist and turns along the way.