The general feeling among NBA players and coaches is that Anthony will walk, even if it means leaving $30 million on the table. LeBron James took less money to secure a championship future in Miami and Anthony has already been quoted this season as saying that James was "smart" to make such a move.
On the heels of New York's 15-26 start, speculation is bound to ensue. The Knicks are 5.5 games behind the Toronto Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead, and they're two games back of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.
One year after winning 54 games and their division, the Knicks' status quo isn't sitting well with Anthony.
"If anybody’s being complacent with losing, that’s not the mentality we should have as a basketball team, and we shouldn’t be okay with losing basketball games," he said after the Knicks were walloped by the Brooklyn Nets in their Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee at Madison Square Garden, via Isola.
Upticks in pessimistic takes like those could be a red flag. Or they could be mean nothing.
Anthony can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Failing to make the playoffs or earning another first-round exit could compel him to leave.
Half of the season has yet to be played, though, so the Knicks still have time to turn things around in a very forgiving Eastern Conference.
But the rumors are becoming increasingly hard to ignore.
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM in December that 'Melo had already made a decision to leave, sparking further speculation.
To his credit, Anthony refuted the report, per Newsday's Rod Boone:
All of this is just pure conjecture at this point. We won't know for sure what Anthony's plans are until he hits free agency. That is, unless the Knicks trade him first, which according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, they won't do.
Ultimately, that leaves everyone in the dark, digesting rumors and reports like these.
"So one thing I would tell my fans: If you haven’t heard it from me, then it ain’t true," Anthony told The New York Observer's Rafi Kohan in October.
Between then and now, 'Melo has said plenty, but nothing that indicates his mind is made up or his bags already packed.
For now, anyway.