The New York Knicks' abysmal season resumed on Sunday afternoon as the team suffered a 116-101 loss on the road to the Toronto Raptors.
The 15-point loss does not tell the entire story; New York trailed by as many as 38 points and was outscored by Toronto 27-8 in the third quarter. In fact, with 3:45 left in that quarter, the Knicks only had two points scored compared to the Raptors' 21.
Any way you put it, the Knicks are not a good team right now. They have lost 10 of their last 12 games and their 18-23 record has them in the 10th place in the eastern conference, 2.5 games out of a playoff spot. The dying playoff hopes and poor roster construction has led to trade rumors circulating throughout the season -- in particular, the Knicks' aging superstar, Carmelo Anthony.
"Melo" had 18 points in Sunday's loss, leading all Knicks in scoring. But the 32-year-old's window to win a championship is closing more and more with each Knicks loss, making it clear that his best chance to win a title will likely not be in New York.
Speaking to the media after the game, Anthony confirmed that has not considered waiving his no-trade clause to leave New York...yet. However, Anthony's most notable quote showed that he's slowly realizing his days with the Knicks could be numbered.
Carmelo: "If they feel like my time in New York is over I guess that's a conversation we should have."Anthony was specifically referring to a piece written by Charley Rosen for FanRag Sports. Rosen is a former assistant head coach under current Knicks team president Phil Jackson and was particularly harsh on Anthony in his column.
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) January 15, 2017
"The only sure thing is that Carmelo Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York," Rosen wrote.
As Marc Berman of the New York Post mentioned, since Jackson took over the reigns, the Knicks have had 45 players suit up for the team. The one constant in that time has been Anthony, a still prolific scorer who has slowed down on the defensive and parts of the offensive end, Rosen added.
In that column, Rosen mentioned the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and possibly the Los Angeles Lakers as destinations for Anthony if he decides to waive his no-trade clause. With the Clippers, Anthony could form a fearsome squad with point guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Jordan. In Cleveland, he obviously would join the defending NBA champions with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in tow.
Still, Anthony remained adamant about remaining in New York.
"Listen," Anthony said, "if that's what they feel…if that's what's coming from that side that's what's coming from that side. I haven't thought once about that to be honest with you. I hear it. I hear all the rhetoric that's going on out there and I still come to work every day and play and bust my ass and try not to worry about it."
A trade would be tricky; as The Post reported, Anthony has three years left on his current deal but a deal would include a 15 percent trade kicker. While the Knicks would certainly pay it, it would make Anthony's salary cap hit near $30 million.
In one sense, it's admirable that Anthony wants to win in New York. After all, it's the same place where the team president recently criticized him for holding the ball too long on offense. It's the same place that had a 22-22 record at this time last season with an inexperienced coach (Derek Fisher) and no Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah. It's also the same place, where, in Anthony's own words, "When we lose it's me when we win it's us."
In 39 games this season, Anthony is still posting solid averages of 22.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. However, the Knicks have consistently struggled to put together an effective roster and Anthony has not been able to win with any of them.
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]