Carmelo Anthony still has at least 16 games left as a Knick, but there are more signs that it will continue to be a rocky relationship.
Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News writes that Anthony seemed to be staging a “protest” Saturday night as he took just nine shots in a 20-point loss at Detroit. He rarely dribbled or tried to create shots and passed the ball quickly unless he was wide open. It’s only the third time in his career that he has played more than 35 minutes and takenfewer than 10 shots.
“We were just playing within the offense and just taking what they were giving me,” Anthony said with a smile after the game. “Just play the right way in this system.”
The system is Phil Jackson’s controversial triangle offense, which Anthony refuses to mention by name. He and Jackson clashed earlier in the season when the team president alleged that Anthony was holding the ball too long to make the offense work.
“It’s just hard for me to be talking about that in March, in the middle of March, to still be talking about our system and what we’re running instead of just playing basketball,” Anthony said Saturday.
It’s the latest sign that Anthony and the Knicks could be headed for a breakup this summer after another disappointing season. At 26-40 and six and a half games out of the eighth spot, they are almost certain of missing the playoffs for a fourth straight year.
Jackson contacted the Clippers, Celtics and Cavaliers to attempt to work out a deal for Anthony before the deadline, and the consensus is that he will try again this offseason. Anthony will make $26,243,760 next season, then has a $27,928,140 early termination option for 2018/19. There’s also the matter of his no-trade clause, but Anthony might be more likely than ever to approve a deal to join a winning organization and escape the triangle.