New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and forward Carmelo Anthony met Tuesday to discuss the star's future with the team.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported Jackson asked Anthony whether he wanted to remain with the Knicks in the meeting. Shelburne described the face-to-face as "far more contentious than previous sit-downs," but a source told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical that Anthony said he wished to remain in New York.
The nine-time All-Star's future with the team has been the subject of rampant speculation in recent weeks with the 18-24 Knicks descending out of playoff contention. Monday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks was New York's 11th in its last 13 games, leading some to speculate the Knicks would be better off trading Anthony and rebuilding for the future.
Included in that contingent was Charley Rosen, the longtime sports writer who has served as a Jackson mouthpiece during his time in New York. Rosen wrote that Anthony has "outlived his usefulness" in a Jan. 12 column for FanRag Sports.
Anthony, whose public relationship with Jackson could best be described as frigid, interpreted Rosen's thoughts as coming from the Knicks boss. He told Frank Isola of the New York Daily News that he's never considered waiving his no-trade clause but referred to Rosen's words using "they" in multiple instances—a clear reference to Jackson:
Listen, if that's what they feel…if that's what's coming from that side that's what's coming from that side. I haven't thought once about that to be honest with you. I hear it. I hear all the rhetoric that's going on out there and I still come to work every day and play and bust my ass and try not to worry about it.
The issue doesn't appear to be Anthony's commitment. He has never wavered on his desire to finish his career in New York. He re-upped with the Knicks on a five-year contract in 2014 despite overtures from contenders, and those close to him have said he remains committed to bringing a title to the team.
"He loves it here. He loves being here. His family loves it here. And he wants to win here. He's going to be here as long as they want him here—win, lose or draw," longtime friend Dwyane Wade told Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News.
In addition, he's shuffled through multiple supporting casts, none all that helpful, in his six-plus seasons without making much of a fuss. Shelburne reported Anthony and Jackson have not discussed potential trade destinations, and Wojnarowski reiterated the star still has "no desire" to leave the Knicks.
What's clear is Anthony has grown frustrated with what he perceives as a lack of respect, specifically from Jackson. Shelburne reported Anthony had already asked twice for a meeting with the team president between the publish of Rosen's column and Tuesday's sit-down.
Jackson had already criticized Anthony's tendency for ball-stopping in a December interview with CBS Sports Network (h/t Marc Berman of the New York Post), which led to a not-so-veiled comment about "negativity" from Anthony.
Despite the tension, Tuesday's meeting likely went a long way in determining whether the Jackson-Melo relationship had reached the point of no return.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.