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Brandon Jennings: Carmelo Anthony trade talks 'took a toll' on Knicks

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Melo trade rumors supposed to be uncomfortable (1:39)

Israel Gutierrez admits that it was most likely the front office's intention to distract Carmelo Anthony with trade discussions in order to make him uncomfortable enough to waive the no-trade clause from his contract. (1:39)

If you're looking for reasons why the New York Knicks performed so far below expectations this season, there are plenty to choose from. The roster didn't fit well, they never figured out how to defend as a unit and players never got comfortable running the triangle portions of Jeff Hornacek's offense.

"We were trying to learn an offense that guys didn't really know," ex-Knick Brandon Jennings said Thursday night, after his Wizards handed the Knicks their 49th loss of the season.

Jennings also offered another interesting theory as to why this Knicks team fell so far short of its goals this season: the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors fueled by Phil Jackson in late January and February.

"It definitely took a toll, I think, on the team. Because it wasn't even about basketball anymore, it was more about what was going on with Melo," Jennings said, adding that it was one of the wildest situations he has been in during his eight seasons in the league.

Jennings said it was "cool" playing with Anthony, but noted that Anthony had "a lot of pressure on him dealing with stuff with Phil."

The Knicks, at Jackson's behest, talked to at least three teams about trades involving Anthony before the trade deadline. Anthony has a no-trade clause and said the club never came to him with any specific offers. Jennings said the trade talks weren't fair to Anthony.

"I think it was just a roller coaster, an emotional roller coaster for him this year with everything he had to deal with, which isn't fair," Jennings said. "For a player to wake up every day and you're hearing trade rumors and you might be gone and this and that. It was like a two-week span where everybody was hitting your phone, (reading reports) about Melo leaving."

The Knicks might look to move Anthony this summer, and he has hinted that he'd be open to a trade at that point. Jennings left the team shortly after the trade deadline. He was waived as a mutual parting because the 28-year-old was looking for more minutes and a chance to make the playoffs. He ended up signing with the Wizards.

"I'm on my contract year so I didn't want to go home in April," Jennings said. "I have a chance to go to the playoffs, so I'm really excited about that."