It has been nothing short of a disappointing season for the New York Knicks heading toward a fourth straight year missing the playoffs. The stretches of inconsistency have been the only constant for them pushing forward in another losing campaign.
In light of that, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek has come to the decision to start shortening the minute load for some players on the team that includes All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, according to Newsday.
“Yeah, I think so,” Anthony said.
“I think coach (Jeff Hornacek) is starting to realize that. He mentioned today that he’s going to start shortening minutes. We’ll see what happens.”
“My role is not going to change as far as mentoring and helping guys out. When I’m out there, I’ll play; when I’m not, I’ll be helping everybody else. I don’t think my role is going to change. I’ll still come in here, get my work done and go from there.”
This adds yet another wrinkle to what’s been a troubling season for Anthony and the Knicks that began with much promise with high expectations of being one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. It all came after a busy offseason that saw the addition of several key players through free agency and trade market with the arrival of former All-Stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah along with Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings.
The Knicks had gotten off to an encouraging start to the season heading into Christmas Day with a 16-13 record that put them in the mix of the playoff picture. However, since then, the Knicks have struggled to develop any cohesiveness with Hornacek implementing more of the triangle offense at the request of team president Phil Jackson. According to ESPN, this created much internal conflict between Jackson and Anthony over the use and effectiveness of the offensive system. It became a very public war of words that saw the two hold a meeting in order to resolve the issue.
Despite that effort to diffuse the situation, the New York Knicks made a strong push to move Carmelo Anthony prior to the trade deadline in February but ultimately decided to hold onto the 32-year-0ld, who still has two more years left on his five-year, $124 million deal.
That said, this latest decision to cut Anthony’s minutes could be yet another sign that the Knicks are looking to move on from the veteran forward. It comes just a few days after he finally begun to hint at the possibility of leaving New York in favor of making the most out of the playing days that he has left in his NBA career. On top of that, he also voiced his disgruntlement with Hornacek going away from his high-paced offense to incorporate more of the triangle offense.
The potential move of Anthony could come in the offseason with the Los Angeles Clippers being the most likely destination for his services. Los Angeles had made a serious push to acquire him prior to the trade deadline but hesitated to pull the trigger on a deal that didn’t include any of their three superstars in Chris Paul, Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers are one of the few teams that Carmelo Anthony has reportedly agreed to waive his no-trade clause.
Anthony is in the midst of yet another productive season averaging 22.7 points with 6.0 rebounds. He has scored 20 or more points 42 times, including 30 or more points on 15 occasions. Anthony is on pace to be one of five players in NBA history who has averaged 20-plus points while playing in at least 40 games in each season in each of their first 13 years in the NBA.
All of this points to it be being just a matter of time before the New York Knicks finally move on Carmelo Anthony that could come as soon as this upcoming summer.
[Featured Image by Aaron Gash/AP Images]