After suffering a sore left knee, Carmelo Anthony will be missing the New York Knicks’ final game of the season against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The season finale could be his last game as a Knick as he’s expected to leave the team this summer.
Carmelo Anthony continues to be part of various trade rumors in the past months. With the Knicks suffering another disappointing season, most people believe Anthony will be available on the trade market again in the offseason. The 10-time NBA All-Star revealed he’s looking forward to his exit meeting with Knicks president Phil Jackson.
Anthony said that the “chips will be on the table” in that meeting. Though he still has a no-trade clause, Anthony revealed that he already sees the “writing on the wall”. Aside from Anthony, coach Jeff Hornacek and general manager Steve Mills will also attend the exit meeting.
Jeff Hornacek says aging Carmelo Anthony still needs to improve defensively
Hornacek admitted that he doesn’t have an idea what to expect with the exit meeting between Anthony and Jackson. However, he believes that Anthony’s future with the Knicks will be part of the discussion. Hornacek gave his assessment on Anthony’s season. He praised the superstar’s offense but said that Anthony needs to improve his defense.
“I think he played more games than I probably anticipated, knowing that he was getting older, with his knee,” Hornacek said of the 32-year-old Anthony, who has played in 73 games this season. “… Obviously, he can score the ball. He can put it in the hole. He’s a guy along with Derrick [Rose] that late in games, veteran guys, that you can go to. They came through sometimes.”
Hornacek still open for the return of Carmelo Anthony next season
With the possible departure of Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis is expected to be the Knicks’ next franchise player. Porzingis continues to show improvements since his rookie season and there is no doubt that he’s the player the Knicks should build around. However, Hornacek is still open for Anthony’s return next season but wants him to act more as a veteran leader than a franchise player.
“It could be beneficial,” Hornacek said. “If a veteran guy with young players, the leadership, the knowledge of the game, they’re going to help in that respect — it could be a positive. It’s a negative if your young guys rely on the veteran to do everything and they don’t move forward. That’s the bad part of it.”
Anthony will surely oppose with Hornacek’s idea since he knows he still has something left in his tank. In 73 games his season, he averaged 22.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists on 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr