There is a faction of basketball fans and media who believe the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony are destined for an acrimonious divorce. Do not count Anthony among those people.
The All-Star forward responded with a resounding "hell no" when asked Monday if he'd consider asking for a trade out of New York, per Ian Begley of ESPN New York. Al Iannazzone of Newsday also noted Anthony said he has "bought into Phil's vision." He went on to say the narrative that he angled for a trade following the Knicks' selection of Kristaps Porzingis in June "bothered him" this summer.
Porzingis is a 20-year-old Latvian import whom many see as being two or three years away from emerging as an elite contributor. His career trajectory would therefore run in direct contrast to Anthony, who will turn 32 in May and is coming off the most serious injury of his career. He missed 42 games last season due to a knee injury and was only fully cleared for full contact last month.
“I think the further I get along, the better it will be," Anthony recently said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Though I’m cleared to play and had no setbacks, I’m still continuing to rehab every day. It was a good test for me to get through the two-a-days."
While the Porzingis acquisition led some to believe the Knicks were subtly moving toward a post-Melo era, their free-agency moves say otherwise. Veterans Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez are ready to contribute immediately, and the Eastern Conference is bad enough that it's not out of the question that New York competes for one of the last couple of playoff spots.
Whether that's ultimately good enough for Anthony or team president Phil Jackson is another question entirely. Moving on from Anthony while he's still in his prime is probably the prudent move for Jackson. The Knicks are nowhere near winning a championship, and Anthony is still valuable enough that the team could recoup the type of young assets it lost under the previous regime.
That said, it's not exactly in his control. Anthony chose New York over better basketball situations a year ago in free agency, and his no-trade clause makes it impossible for Jackson to move on without his star's explicit consent. Based on Anthony's public comments, that permission isn't coming anytime soon.
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