Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
All-Star break means more talk of Carmelo Anthony's future
The first part of the Knicks’ season featured more trade rumors and reports that Mike Woodson was close to being fired than actual wins.
Both should continue through the All-Star break and into next week.
The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 20 and the Knicks are 20-32 heading into the break. So expect rumors of Woodson being on his way out to persist and trade talks to heat up.
It’s possible almost every Knick not named Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. could be available. Still, with uncertainty about Anthony re-signing with the Knicks this summer, there could be speculation about him.
Anthony’s future should be a topic over All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, where he will be around close friends and Olympic teammates such as Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and LeBron James. They could get in Anthony’s ear, try to recruit him or put doubt in his mind about whether he can win a championship with the Knicks.
“We don’t have time to talk like that,” Anthony said. “I think All-Star Weekend is just a time where you can relax, decompress, kind of reflect on the first half of the season and kind of gear up for the second half of the season. As far as recruiting and things like that, that never happens.”
There’s plenty of down time for players to talk. James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh talked about teaming up before they actually did in Miami.
“A lot of guys – especially the people I call friends, the people I talk to – it’s more making sure I’m all right, making sure I’m keeping my head up, making sure I’m staying positive,” Anthony said. “It’s not no, ‘What you going to do?’ or ‘You should do this or you should do that.’ It’s more just being there during this time.”
Anthony said his “head is always up.” But as he sat on the bench during some games, his head has been down or shaking to side. The Knicks’ struggles have had some questioning if he will stay.
The Knicks hope to re-sign Anthony. They would like to acquire another star to play with him, or at the very least create some flexibility to make future moves.
The Knicks don’t have a first round pick they can trade until 2018. They also could have nearly $50 million committed next season to Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani - presuming he doesn’t opt out of the $11.5 million.
All three would be on expiring contracts, so they could be valuable trade chips this summer or next season. But the Knicks would like to unload some players and contracts now. Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton, Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih could be in their final games with the Knicks.
The Knicks have been trying to upgrade at point guard with Rajon Rondo being their top target. They have also inquired about Kyle Lowry and Andre Miller. They nearly acquired Lowry in December.