NEW YORK -- About 90 minutes after the New York Knicks' 93-89 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, someone asked Carmelo Anthony if he thought he may have played his final home game at Madison Square Garden.
"No, no, I don’t think about that. Not right now,” he said. “I can’t think about that. My mindset is just figuring out how we’re going to better this situation, how we’re going to continue to grow as a team, grow as an organization and not get used to going home this early in April."
Anthony and the Knicks (32-49) will miss the playoffs for the third straight season, which certainly isn’t the kind of streak the 31-year-old wants to maintain. Anthony made the playoffs in each of his first 10 seasons in the NBA.
“I don’t think I can kind of get used to this feeling,” he said after the Knicks lost their final home game of the season, which was billed as Fan Appreciation Night. “We’re thanking the fans for sticking with us, [but] as players, man, we want this to be our welcoming to the postseason. We want to be looking forward to gearing up and tightening up some screws and bolts and preparing for the postseason. I don’t want to get used to, we shouldn’t get used to, kind of this feeling and having Fan Appreciation Night this early.”
Anthony has three years left on the five-year, $124 million contract he signed in the summer of 2014. He also has a no-trade clause, which has fueled speculation that he may seek a trade out of New York.
When thinking about Anthony's future, it's worth noting that he has expressed loyalty to New York on several occasions this season. He said last month on an ESPN broadcast that he has “unfinished business” to tend to as a Knick. He also seemed excited about the future of the franchise thanks to rookies Jerian Grant and Kristaps Porzingis and asked loyal Knicks fans to be patient.
So it seems as if something drastic would have to happen for the 13-year veteran to waive his no-trade clause.
But some in the Knicks organization believe Anthony may change his stance -- and look into his options on the trade market -- if the Knicks fail to add talent in free agency, league sources with knowledge of the situation said last month.
New York will have at least $18 million in cap space to use in free agency this summer. Anthony's eager to see which players Phil Jackson and the rest of the front office can attract in the offseason.
“[There’s] plenty of uncertainty right now,” he said. “That’s what guys get paid the big bucks for, man. Everybody got to put their heads together and try to figure out what’s going on and what’s going to happen and how we can continue moving this ship forward and getting better.”