THE New York Knicks Melo-drama took a turn for the worse with team president Phil Jackson indicating Carmelo Anthony’s time with the Knicks could soon be over.
Speaking to reporters on Friday (Saturday, Manila time) after a fourth straight losing season, Jackson declared that the team is actively exploring trade options for Anthony, especially after finishing far below preseason expectations with a 31-51 record even with the All-Star forward leading a squad bolstered by Kristaps Porzingis along with offseason recruits like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
“We’ve not been able to win with [Anthony] on the court at this time. I think the direction with our team is that he’s a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship,” said Jackson.
Anthony declined to comment on Jackson’s statement in public but had a cryptic post on his Instagram account.
The Knicks have lost at least 50 games in the past three seasons with Jackson in the front office, with an 80-166 record in the last three years.
The 32-year-old Anthony has played through trade speculations in the fourth season of a five-year $124M deal, and was adamant in his desire to stay with the Knicks. But sources told ESPN that for the right destination, Anthony would waive his no-trade clause.
On Thursday, Jackson and Anthony met in the team’s traditional player exit meetings, where the Knicks president persuaded the forward to consider accepting a trade to a title contender to complete a winning legacy, but Anthony was insistent on his plan to stay.
“I just said you haven’t won here. You don’t want to end your career not winning,” said Jackson.
“This is not something that you want to have labeled on your career. You want to get to that territory where you have a chance to win. That’s---we talked around that. But he likes it here. He expressed that,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jackson heaped praise on Rose, who is entering free agency but expressed his desire to return with the Knicks. The team president is considering bringing the former MVP back.
“He enjoyed playing here even with the losses, which of course surprises us because he's been on some very successful teams," he said.
"But he wants to redeem himself as a player. Which I like that attitude. I like who Derrick represents as himself. He's very direct about taking on a big challenge," added Jackson.