New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony

Does new cap make it easier for Melo to go?

April, 19, 2014
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If the NBA’s salary projections hold true, the Knicks may be facing slightly stiffer competition this summer in trying to re-sign Carmelo Anthony. They also may have an easier time executing a sign-and-trade involving Anthony.

The NBA has informed teams that it is projecting a rise in the salary cap of nearly $5 million for next season, sources familiar with the forecasts told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

Sources told Stein that all 30 teams were told this week to expect an increase in the cap from this season's $58.6 million to $63.2 million in 2014-15. A corresponding rise in the luxury-tax threshold from $71.7 million to $77 million is also projected, sources said.

So what does this mean for the Knicks?

First off, it makes it easier for New York to execute a sign-and-trade involving Anthony. In order to complete a sign-and-trade, tax-paying teams such as the Knicks have to be under the salary "apron" following the trade. If the new projections hold, it means the apron will increase to $81 million. So the extra $5 million of space makes the sign-and-trade easier to execute.

Teams such as Houston and Chicago have an easier chance to acquire Anthony via a sign-and-trade.

Secondly, the projected increase in the cap means teams who are interested in signing Anthony as a free agent will now theoretically be able to offer him a little more money.

The new cap projection for 2014-15, if it comes to fruition, would represent a 7.7 percent increase over this season.

The NBA, according to ESPN.com contributor Larry Coon, typically expects a season-to-season rise of 4.5 percent.

So, if this holds, teams like the Rockets and Bulls can potentially offer Anthony a first-year salary that is a little closer to the maximum 2014-15 salary that the Knicks can offer. New York can offer Anthony a first-year salary of $22,458,401, according to ESPN’s salary cap guru Larry Coon.

So Anthony will still have to take a significant paycut to sign with a new team.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks can offer him a maximum contract of $129 million over five years. Other suitors, such as Chicago and Houston, can offer Anthony a maximum of $96 million over four years.

It should be noted that the Bulls and Rockets would both have to move significant players from their roster to create enough salary cap space to make a competitive offer to Anthony.

The Bulls currently have $63.8 million on their books for 2014-15.

So the Bulls would have to amnesty Carlos Boozer and then trade a player making significant money to a team that could absorb the salary in order to have enough space to sign Anthony to anything close to a max contract.

Same goes for Houston.

The Rockets currently have $71.9 million on their books for 2014-15, so to cut enough money to make any kind of play for Anthony, the Rockets would have move serious money.

Both Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik are going into the “poison pill” season of their contracts. But if Houston were to trade them, it would remove only the average salary of Asik and Lin’s contract ($8 million) from the books rather than the $30 million that the players (combined) will make in 2014-15.

So both Houston and Chicago would have to make major roster alterations if they want to sign Anthony as a free agent.

But the projected salary cap increase means Houston and Chicago won’t have to work quite as hard as they originally thought. It also makes executing a sign-and-trade with the Knicks a bit easier.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Melo: Knicks' season was a 'failure'

April, 17, 2014
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony talked about a wide range of subjects with reporters Thursday after his exit interview with president Phil Jackson. He discussed his priorities as a free agent. But he also touched on the difficulty of this season, his conversation and comfort level with Jackson, and the idea of taking less than max money as a free agent.

Here is a brief synopsis of the State of Melo entering the offseason:

Embarrassed by 2013-14: Carmelo said in no uncertain terms that this was his most difficult season in the NBA.

"By far, by far," the 11-year veteran said. "Not making the playoffs is definitely a failure for me. This is definitely a chapter in my book that I would never ever forget about it."

Anthony added that it's "embarrassing" that some of the players he entered the league with -- LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh -- and some players he is close with -- Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul -- are either in the playoffs or have enjoyed playoff success. Anthony, on the other hand, will be sitting home this spring.

"It's embarrassing. And this is just how I take it, I can't speak on everybody else. For me, it's embarrassing," Anthony said. "I can't even put that into words. I can't even describe the feeling. The last couple of nights just staying up all night trying to figure out what happened, what went wrong. Why this? Why that? Maybe those questions will never be answered. Maybe I shouldn't ask. But I do."

Comfortable with Phil: Anthony and Jackson got the chance to sit down and talk about the future for the first time since Jackson signed on as Knicks president. Anthony came away impressed.

"His knowledge, his wisdom, is something I could sit down and listen to all day long," Anthony said. "He’s very philosophical ... has an answer for every scenario. He makes everything clear and just the way he talks, his delivery, his message, is, for me, something I could sit down and listen to all day."

Anthony and Jackson's relationship is extremely important for a Knicks team that is desperate to re-sign its All-Star forward.

On taking less money: Much was made earlier this season of Anthony's comments about taking less money in free agency to build a winner. Anthony expanded on those comments Thursday.

"If I was to go with another team, I would take less money anyway," Anthony said. "When it comes to the money, yes we play the sport to make money, let's be quite frank. At this point in my career, I'm not concerned about the money. The contract will be the contract regardless. I like to consider myself financially stable.

"For me it's more the day-to-day stuff," Anthony added. "Putting together a situation where I'm able to compete at a high level night in and night out and when it comes down to it having a chance to reach my ultimate goal which is winning that championship."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

The Nets are living the Knicks' dream

April, 16, 2014
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NEW YORK -- Even as the New York Knicks ran around the Barclays Center on Tuesday night, acting as if the borough of Brooklyn belonged to them every bit as much as it used to, the reality of this debacle of a season rapidly seeped in.

The Brooklyn Nets weren’t fazed by anything the Knicks were doing because they didn’t need to be. The Knicks, for all intents and purposes, were a mere afterthought.

After all, the Nets will have another game at the Barclays Center next week. Unlike Tuesday night, the games to come will actually matter. They will be in the postseason. Their coach will remain on their bench next season. And their billionaire owner and smart general manager aren't worried about losing their resident franchise player because he doesn’t have the luxury of opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent this summer.

“It’s fun being a Brooklyn Net right now,” Nets GM Billy King said recently. “That much I’ll admit.”

King wasn’t taking a shot at the Knicks, but truth be told, even if he had, could you blame him?

As the Knicks' excruciating season finally comes to an end, it’s almost painful to admit that the Nets are everything the Knicks were supposed to be. And there’s no reason to believe that will change anytime soon. Even with Phil Jackson in the house.

It’s the Knicks who are not in the playoffs. It’s the Knicks who couldn’t reach 40 wins this season. It’s the Knicks who have losses to Milwaukee and Philadelphia on their résumé, who managed to surrender 51 points in a quarter to a Lakers squad without Kobe Bryant or Steve Nash and who were saddled with nine- and seven-game losing streaks.

Yet all we kept hearing throughout this season was “We’re still shooting for the playoffs” from coach Mike Woodson, who will be fired any day now. “We’ve still got something to play for.”

If you’re feeling sorry for Woodson, you have company. It appears the poor man never had a chance.

Before training camp opened or a preseason game took place, all of Woodson’s comfort nuggets were taken away from him. Gone, inexplicably, was his friend of 37 years, former GM Glen Grunwald. The contracts of his assistant coaches were not renewed. Along the way, veterans departed via retirement (Jason Kidd), trade (Steve Novak and Marcus Camby) or just other job opportunities (Rasheed Wallace), and locker-room stability departed with them.

There’s a reason Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were acquired and inserted into Brooklyn’s locker room. “Can’t put a price on stability and veteran leadership,” King said. (Factor in J.R. Smith’s five-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, and we understand why.)

The thing is, Kidd and the Nets could have suffered the same fate as the Knicks. After all, they started out 10-21. Yet despite vouching for Lawrence Frank and securing a six-year, $6 million deal for the high-profile assistant, Kidd didn’t hesitate to get rid of Frank when he decided his former New Jersey head coach was undermining him.

Essentially, Kidd said, “I’m the man in charge. I run this show.” He was backed up by King, who was backed up by Mikhail Prokhorov, who was willing to swallow the $6 million. All the Nets have done is register one of the best records in the league since Jan. 1.

The Knicks, clearly, can’t say the same.

Nobody knows this better than Carmelo Anthony, who conversed with chairman James Dolan after he released Grunwald to ask why Dolan would do such a thing. According to sources, Melo asked Dolan, “What kind of a message does it send to get rid of someone who just helped us win 54 games? What are we supposed to think or feel?"

Sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time Melo asked such questions. He’s just kept his thoughts out of the media.

The quiet, the silence, made the Knicks nervous enough to go out and sign Jackson for $12 million per year, both for PR purposes and to improve their chances of keeping Melo.

Jackson is the man who will supposedly have to answer for Melo’s departure if it comes down to that. The man assigned to rebuild the Knicks. The man who will help New Yorkers refrain from protesting outside Madison Square Garden on game days, as Jackson was able to do simply by getting introduced as the new president the day before a fan protest was scheduled last month.

Yet in the end, Melo still doesn’t know what he’ll do. He’s still out of the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career. This Knicks roster still isn’t good enough to legitimately compete for a title. They still have Dolan and, with him, the potential for chaos, because even as the team president, Jackson still will have to deal with Dolan’s invasive tendencies eventually.

No wonder you hear Kidd consistently say how proud he is to be a Net. No wonder you don’t hear anyone in Brooklyn complaining.

They’re winning games and heading to the playoffs to compete for a championship.

The Knicks will be watching, just like the rest of us.

J.R. weighs in on Melo: He’ll still be here

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
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NEW YORK -- J.R. Smith is one of Carmelo Anthony's closest friends in the NBA.

The two have played together for seven seasons.

So when Smith says something about Anthony, it's worth listening.

[+] EnlargeJ.R. Smith
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIJ.R. Smith doesn't believe his close pal Carmelo Anthony has played his last game for the Knicks.
Here's what the New York Knicks shooting guard had to say about Anthony's pending free agency:

"In my heart, I believe he’ll still be here. It’s just a matter of him coming up with that decision. Whatever it is, we’re still going to be friends 'til our dying days, so I mean, whether he’s on my team or he isn’t, I still love him like a brother."

Asked if he was "worried" that he'd played his last game with Anthony, Smith replied, "No, not really."

Wonder if Phil Jackson is as confident as J.R.?

Anthony will sit out the season finale against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday due to a small tear in his left labrum. So the next step for Anthony, aside from rehabbing his shoulder injury, is to turn his attention to free agency.

The 30-year-old should have a number of suitors on the open market. The Knicks can re-sign him to a five-year contract worth $129,135,806. If he signs with another team, the maximum he can get is $95,897,372 over four years.

The Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are among a group of teams expected to pursue him during the offseason.

Anthony has said that this season won't have a major bearing on his decision -- and that's probably a good thing for the Knicks.

New York is at the tail end of a miserable season. Picked by many to finish among the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks instead will miss the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Smith is as surprised as anyone about the team's downfall.

"I mean, going into this season I was thinking a championship, a championship-caliber team," Smith said. "We’ve got the right pieces, hungry people, we’ve got young kids, vets, people who’ve been there before, so it's very sour."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Opening Tip: Mad at Melo?

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
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Carmelo Anthony says he may sit out of the final two games of the regular season to protect his injured shoulder.


It's a move that makes sense for Anthony. The Knicks are out of playoff contention and he would be risking a lot by taking the court.


He plans to test free agency this summer, so there are millions of dollars on the line for the All-Star forward.


The Knicks can sign Anthony to a five-year contract worth $129,135,806. If he signs with another team, the maximum he can earn is $95,897,372 over four years.

If Anthony suffers a significant shoulder injury, it may scare teams off from paying him max money. So he has at least $33 million reasons to call it a season now.

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As it is, Anthony's not sure of the extent of his injury. He's been playing through pain for the past 11 days and may get an MRI to determine the exact extent of the damage.

"Today, early it felt good. Throughout the course of the game, it went right back to the way it was feeling like yesterday and the day before," he said.

Some fans may be put off by their team's star player sitting out to protect himself. Especially when that star player may bolt for free agency this summer.


But in this case, Anthony has given the Knicks 100 percent effort throughout the season. In fact, he's having one of the best regular seasons of his career.


Entering play Sunday, he was second in the NBA in scoring (27.6) and averaging a career-high 8.2 rebounds per game.


So in this case, there's no reason to be mad at Melo. He's earned the rest ... right?


Up now: Mike Woodson took the blame for the Knicks missing the playoffs.

Carmelo seems to be in a state of shock about the team falling shy of a playoff berth. Anthony also may get an MRI on his injured shoulder.

Amar'e Stoudemire says, on paper, the Knicks were one of the best teams in the NBA.

What's next: The Knicks will take on the rival Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday, for the fourth and final time this season.


Question: Will you be mad at Melo if he sits in the final two games of the season?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Melo may get MRI on shoulder

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
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Carmelo Anthony may have played his last game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

The free-agent-to-be will huddle with the New York Knicks' medical staff in the coming days to determine whether he plays in the team's final two regular-season games. Anthony has been playing with an injured right shoulder for the past 11 days.

He said on Sunday night that he may get an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.

"Maybe in the next couple of days, I’ll try to make something happen with that," Anthony said.

The Knicks close the season with a road game against the Nets on Tuesday and a home game against Toronto on Wednesday. It wouldn't be surprising if Anthony sat out of the final two games of the season. The Knicks are eliminated from the postseason and Anthony is still feeling discomfort in his shoulder.

"Today, early it felt good. Throughout the course of the game, it went right back to the way it was feeling like yesterday and the day before," Anthony said.

Anthony first suffered the injury on April 2 against Brooklyn. In his next two games, Anthony shot a shot combined 9-for-31. He said after both games that his shoulder impacted him.

In the past two games, Anthony has made 15-of-30 shots.

"I’m going to try to be cautious," he said after the win over the Bulls. "I’m going to talk to everybody, see what they want to do and go from there."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Knicks' playoff streak ends at three

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
10:17
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Carmelo AnthonyDerick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsCarmelo Anthony misses the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career.
The Hawks' win over the Heat on Saturday clinches the eighth seed for Atlanta and leaves the Knicks out of the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Here’s what that means for the franchise:

Melo factor: For the first time in his 11 seasons as a pro, Carmelo Anthony will not play in the postseason. He’s talked all season about how important it was for the team to make the playoffs. Now that it hasn’t happened, Knicks brass has to wonder how the team’s failure to make a playoff run will impact Anthony’s decision this summer in free agency.

Denver’s happy: The Knicks’ failure to make the playoffs also means that their 2014 first-round pick will be in the lottery. Unfortunately for the Knicks, that first-round pick will go to Denver as part of the 2011 trade for Anthony. Denver has a decent chance to get an impact player in June because of the depth of the 2014 draft class; more sand in the face for Knicks fans who hoped that the 2013-14 team could do something special.

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Comeback falls short: Back on March 3, the Knicks were 6 games behind the eighth-place Hawks. But they reeled off wins in 12 of 15 games to climb back into contention. The losses during that stretch will sting when the Knicks look back on the failed pursuit of a playoff berth. They blew a 17-point lead at home in a loss to Cleveland on March 23 and were embarrassed by the lowly Lakers in Los Angleles on March 25. They also let a late lead slip away in a loss to the Wizards on April 4, a game that falls outside of that 15-game stretch. All three games were winnable. And all three severely hindered the team’s chances to make the postseason. But really, you can point to any of the embarrassing losses throughout the season (at home to Philadelphia, the blowout home loss to Boston, the late-game gaffe against the Wizards in early December, etc.) if you want to play the “What If?” game with this team.

What’s next: According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Knicks have shown interest in signing Lamar Odom to see if he’s a player they can count on next season. This would be Phil Jackson’s first significant move as team president. Jackson also has to decide on the fate of Mike Woodson. Woodson is under contract next season but is expected to be fired. Jackson is believed to be leaning toward hiring Steve Kerr or another coach he trusts, and one who has an intimate knowledge of the triangle offense. Jackson also has to deal with Anthony’s free agency. Anthony has said that his top priority is to return to the Knicks. Jackson has said that he sees Anthony as an important piece for the team’s future. Stay tuned on that one.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Melo: Thibodeau's system is 'great'

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
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Carmelo Anthony was probably just being polite.

But the verbal bouquet he threw at the Chicago Bulls may be a little concerning to Knicks fans, especially those worried about Anthony signing with another team this summer.

The free-agent-to-be was asked on Friday night about the Bulls’ ability to succeed despite the loss of Derrick Rose (injury) and Luol Deng (trade). Chicago is 15 games above .500 and is on the verge of locking up the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks, on the other hand, are at the tail end of a disappointing season. They were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday night following Atlanta's win over Miami. All season long, the Knicks failed to weather injuries to rotation players such as Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin as well as the Bulls did.

“I have no clue,” Anthony told reporters in Toronto when asked about the difference between the Knicks and Bulls. “Thibs [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau] is a great coach. His system kind of reminds me of [Spurs coach] Gregg Popovich’s system.

"You put anybody in that system and it’s going to work. And that’s what they’ve been doing. They had guys who have been sitting out all season long, guys [have] been in and out the lineup, and they seem to get it done.”

Again, Anthony was probably just being polite when talking about the Bulls.

But if you’re a Knicks fan convinced that Anthony's going to sign with another team this summer in free agency, those comments aren't going to ease your mind.

The Bulls, Rockets and Lakers are among a small group of teams expected to express interest in Anthony this summer. Chicago is one of the most logical destinations for Anthony, who has said his top priority is to win a title.

The Bulls are perennial contenders and figure to remain so with Rose coming back next season.

Chicago would have to cut a significant amount from their payroll to have enough salary-cap space to afford Anthony, though. They could also land Anthony in a sign-and-trade involving Carlos Boozer's expiring contract.

To create enough cap space to sign Anthony to anything close to a max contract, the Bulls would have to amnesty Boozer, then trade either Taj Gibson or Noah to a team that could absorb the salary.

Anthony has said his first priority is to re-sign with the Knicks, who can offer him a max contract for one year longer and $33 million more than any other team. But Anthony has also said he'd be willing to take less money from the Knicks or another team if it meant helping them attract other free agents.

The Bulls have already tried to lure Anthony to Chicago.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported earlier in the season that Noah talked to Anthony over All-Star Weekend and told him, "Look, you could go to Los Angeles, but ... if you want to win a ring, come to Chicago."

The Bulls (47-32) will take the floor Sunday with a chance to move closer to clinching the third seed in the East. The Knicks will have nothing but pride to play for.

“It’s difficult, man,” Anthony said before the Knicks were officially knocked out of the playoffs. “Only thing we do control ... [is] winning basketball games. Our next opponent is Chicago and that’s what we’re thinking about. It’s kind of hard to even think about the situation that we’re in. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is and we’ve got to focus on Chicago.”

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com contributor James Herbert was used in this report.

Carmelo remains on track to play Friday

April, 9, 2014
Apr 9
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony was limited in Wednesday’s practice but remains on track to play in Friday’s game against Toronto.

Mike Woodson decided to keep Anthony out of contact drills on Wednesday to protect his injured right shoulder.

“We wouldn’t allow him to do any contact today, but he went through the conditioning part at the top of practice and got through that,” Woodson said. “He’s basically rehabbing and getting ready for Friday.”

Anthony has said he has a “deep bruise” or sprain in his right shoulder that has hindered him on the court in the past two games.

In the two games since he suffered the injury, Anthony has missed 22 of 31 field goal attempts.

Woodson said on Wednesday that Anthony hasn’t undergone any further testing to determine the extent of the injury. Anthony underwent an X-ray after the Knicks’ loss to the Wizards on Friday.

The injury comes at the worst possible time for the Knicks, who are trying to make a late playoff push.

Entering play Tuesday, the Knicks were 1 games behind the Atlanta Hawks in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks have four games remaining. Atlanta has five left, including Tuesday’s game against the Celtics at home. The Hawks also play Milwaukee in their season finale.

Any combination of Knicks losses or Hawks wins that adds up to three would clinch the eighth spot for Atlanta.

So the Knicks hope Anthony can heal as quickly as possible before Friday’s game against the Raptors.

Woodson knows that the injury could have a great impact on Anthony’s game.

“If you’ve even been a shooter, if it’s tough to raise your shooting arm it’s tough,” the coach said. “Only Melo knows the severity of his pain. All I can try to do is put him in the best position possible, and if he tells me he’s hurting and he can’t play, then it’s my job to sit him. But I don’t know if he’ll ever tell me that.”

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Melo: Knicks 'hope and pray' for the best

April, 7, 2014
Apr 7
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This is what the Knicks’ season has been reduced to: hoping and praying.

That’s what Carmelo Anthony will likely be doing Tuesday when the Hawks take on the Pistons.

If Atlanta beats Detroit, the Knicks would fall 2 1/2 games back of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with four games left.

“We’ve got to watch this week and hope and pray that they lose some games and we got to win some basketball games,” Anthony told reporters in Miami on Sunday. “That’s frustrating, too, knowing that my fate is in somebody else’s hands.”

New York is three games back of Atlanta in the loss column. If the teams finish with identical records, the Hawks would own the tiebreaker based on conference record.

The Knicks’ tragic number is three, meaning any combination of Knicks’ losses and Hawks’ wins that adds up to three would clinch the eighth seed for Atlanta.

If the Knicks finish the season 4-0, they’d need the Hawks to go 2-4 in order to get into the playoffs.

“We’ve got to start somewhere,” J.R. Smith said Sunday. “We’ve got to get one [win] and then we’ll worry about the other three.”

Four of Atlanta’s final six opponents are under .500. Three of the teams (Pistons, Celtics and Bucks) are among the worst teams in the East. They enter play Monday a combined 101 games under .500.

“It is tough,” Mike Woodson said. “We have to win some games. It is about how we play and what we do from here on out. I can't control what the Atlanta Hawks do, but I can control what we do. These next three or four days will give us a chance to regroup."

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Anthony: 'I can't be myself' due to injury

April, 6, 2014
Apr 6
10:26
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Carmelo AnthonyNathaniel S. Butler/Getty ImagesThe banging on Sunday was too much at times for Anthony's injured right shoulder.
All season long, the Carmelo Anthony has carried the New York Knicks on his shoulders. One of those shoulders is now giving out -- at the worst possible time.

Anthony said his right arm felt “dead” at times during the Knicks’ 102-91 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday. He's nursing a right-shoulder injury.

“Coming into the game this morning, it felt all right. Throughout the course of the game, it felt like a dead arm at times,” Anthony said. “As the game went on, they tried to bang, physically, [and] I didn't even have it. It felt weird for me because I am a physical guy. I try to fight back in the post and gain ground. As the game went on, it was something that I lost.”

For the second straight game, Anthony seemed to be significantly impacted by his right-shoulder injury. He shot 4-for-17 on Sunday and scored just 13 points. He also handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds.

Anthony did not attempt a shot in the fourth quarter.

“I had a wide open [3-pointer] and I almost shot an air ball,” he said, describing how the shoulder pain impacted him on the court. “From that point on, I was just trying to figure it out. It's not pain, it's just uncomfortable.”

Anthony first suffered the shoulder injury on Wednesday when he was tied up with Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson.

It affected him all night during Friday’s loss to Washington.

Anthony shot 5-for-14 in that game and turned the ball over a season-high nine times.

On Saturday, he said he was having difficulty lifting his arm over his shoulder and that he felt tightness in the shoulder. Anthony hopes that the pain can dissipate during the Knicks’ four-day break this week between games. The Knicks take on the Raptors Friday in Toronto.

"He is giving us what he's got," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "These next few days will give him an opportunity to heal and get some treatment."

Sunday’s loss dropped New York two games back of Atlanta in the race for eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Any combination of Knicks’ losses and Hawks’ wins that adds up to three will clinch the eighth spot in the East for Atlanta.

“It's bad timing, knowing our situation. I can’t be myself at this moment, that's the frustrating part,” Anthony said.

ESPN.com’s Tom Haberstroh contributed to this report.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Woody: I wanted Melo to pass on final play

April, 5, 2014
Apr 5
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Mike Woodson put the ball in Carmelo Anthony's hands on the New York Knicks' final possession of Friday night's messy loss to the Washington Wizards.

But the coach said on Saturday that was looking for Anthony to pass, not shoot.

Anthony was hampered by a shoulder injury all night and Woodson hoped his star could draw the attention of the defense and find an open teammate.

"I wasn't looking for Melo to make the play to shoot the ball," Woodson said on Saturday, "I was looking for Melo to make the play to pass the ball to one of the -- either Amar'e [Stoudemire] rolling and if they took Amar'e on the roll then you'd have shooters around him to make a shot but it just didn't unfold that way."

Instead, Anthony drove to the basket but lost the ball while going up for a shot.

The ball ended up in J.R. Smith's hands.

Smith took an off-balance three-pointer with 2.3 seconds to play that missed and the Knicks walked off the floor with another dispiriting last-minute loss.

Woodson said he hoped the play would have worked out like the Knicks' prior possession, when Anthony found Raymond Felton alone on the wing for an open three pointer. Bothered by a shoulder injury, Anthony had nine turnovers and just 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting against Washington so he said Saturday he was looking at Carmelo as more of a decoy.

"I figured if you put in Melo's hands and you run the pick and roll again, I knew they were going to trap him," Woodson said.

Woodson also pointed out that Smith missed a wide-open Amar'e Stoudemire underneath the basket at the end of the game.

"It was 2.6 when he let it go and Amar'e was standing naked under the bucket so what are you going to do? You drop it to him he lays it in it's game over," Woodson said.

Stoudemire was upset after the game, though he seemed to be bothered by the loss in its entirety more than the final sequence.

The defeat left the Knicks a game back of Atlanta with five to play entering Sunday's game against the Heat.

The Knicks are two games behind the Hawks in the loss column, though, and Atlanta holds the tiebreaker based on conference record.

"It's going to come down to the very end. Right now we have five games left and it's on us, it's on us," Anthony said.

Melo: "I beat myself up": Anthony wasn't happy with the way he played on Friday.

"I wanted to do more. For the most part, we played a great game. Like I said last night, J.R. Smith had a helluva game, guys just played well. I just couldn't seem to get it going last night so I kind of beat myself up about that. For whatever reason, whether it's shoulder issues or whatever reason, I beat myself up."

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Boeheim: Melo always wanted to be in NY

March, 23, 2014
Mar 23
2:53
PM ET
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says Carmelo Anthony "always wanted to be in New York," and that new Knicks president Phil Jackson "brings a lot of credibility" and the ability to attract quality free agents beginning in 2015.

"I think long-term he's always wanted to be in New York," Boeheim told SNY.tv. "He's built for New York. He can handle New York. If [the fans] get on him or whatever, he still goes and plays. Some people can't handle it. He can handle it. If they get on him, he'll go play. I think he's playing as well as he's ever played."

Anthony is poised to opt out and become a free agent this summer, but stands to make approximately $30 million by remaining with the Knicks. "Will there be something better for him [in free agency] or not?" Boeheim asked. "I don't know. Nobody knows that answer."

Still, Boeheim thinks Anthony seems inclined to remain in New York, and hopes Jackson can build around Anthony in 2015 when Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge become free agents and the salaries of Tyson Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani come off the books.

"They can't do much this year under my understanding of the rules and everything so I think it's a year away," Boeheim said.

Boeheim believes Jackson is a huge addition to the Knicks' front office, but must attract a "difference-maker" to help Anthony, who will turn 31 in 2015. "I think Phil Jackson brings a lot of credibility to that organization, $12 million worth," Boeheim said with a laugh. "Sixty [million over five years], that's a lot. I'm sure he's going to have the power to do things. It is a good place to play but it hinges so much on who can you really get to come there? Can you get a difference-maker? It's a lot more stable when you have something like Indiana where they have a bunch of good players. But it's how they figure this out."

During his introductory news conference last week, Jackson said Anthony "is in the future plans" and that he "still has another level he can go to."

The Zen Master also said that on the U.S. Olympic team, Anthony doesn't have to do as much because he's surrounded by stars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant and "that he can play a role if he has to play a role."

Boeheim echoed those thoughts.

"He plays better on the Olympic team because he doesn't have to do as much," he said. "He doesn't have to work that hard. He has to work too hard here [with the Knicks]. It's too much. He gets the ball in one-on-one situations with 10 seconds left and he has to go and make a play over a good defender with help. He'd be much better [with more help]. On the Olympic team he shoots 55 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3 because he's getting good shots without having to go one-on-one all the time.

"He'd be much better with some guys like that. He can do more but he doesn't have to on that [Olympic] team, but nobody does. Everybody plays 20 minutes. But he would be so good [with help on the Knicks]."

Opening Tip: Who should Phil keep, dump?

March, 21, 2014
Mar 21
6:00
AM ET


Phil Jackson saw the Knicks in person for the first time on Wednesday night. But he's been watching the team from afar for several months.

Jackson revealed during his introductory press conference that he's been watching the team since Tyson Chandler went down with a leg fracture in early November.

A source with knowledge of Jackson's thinking said he was impressed with the play of Carmelo Anthony, Chandler, Iman Shumpert, Cole Aldrich, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Toure' Murry.

Jackson has already said that Anthony is in the team's future. So it's fair to assume that the Knicks will do all they can to re-sign Anthony this summer.

But he's got decisions to make on nearly all other roster spots. Does he try to trade the expiring contracts of Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire or Andrea Bargnani?

What about dealing J.R. Smith?

Does he reverse course on Shumpert and decide to keep him around because he fits well in the triangle. These questions will be answered in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, what do you think?

Which players on the current roster do you think Jackson should hold on to? Who should he dump?

Up now: Mike Woodson says it would be "fantastic" if Jackson retained him as coach next season.

Who do you think is in better shape to rebuild and win a title? The Knicks or Lakers?

What's next? The Knicks will play the Sixers on the road Friday night.

Question: Which players on the current roster do you think Jackson should hold on to? Who should he dump?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Melo, STAT sizzle for Knicks

March, 20, 2014
Mar 20
1:03
AM ET
NEW YORK -- If you just started watching the Knicks eight games ago, you'd never know that Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire struggled to play with one another.

Anthony and Stoudemire put together another strong game on Wednesday night, combing for 55 points on 20-for-38 shooting.

The rest of the Knicks shot just 12 for 44.

"I think this stretch has been the best they've played together," J.R. Smith said of Stoudemire and Anthony. "They're playing extremely well, feeding off one another, taking turns, which is hard to guard because you've got a guy going inside outside, pick and pop. It's tough to defend because you can't take one thing away."

Anthony had 34 on 12 for 23 shooting and Stoudemire added 21. He's scored 16.9 points per game since entering the starting lineup eight games ago.

"We’ve been feeding off of that. You can see at times we’re going at him. We’re riding that horse," Anthony said. "It’s great to see him back playing at the level he’s playing."

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Anthony was 8-for-14 with 19 points when defended by Indy's Paul George. He averaged 13.2 points on 34 percent shooting against George in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals.

Anthony also finished with five assists. The Knicks are 17-7 when Anthony has four or more assists in a game.

Going streaking: The Knicks are the first team to win seven straight games immediately following a seven-game losing streak since the 2003-2004 Golden State Warriors.

Only two other teams have done that in the last 30 seasons -- the 1988-1989 Seattle SuperSonics and the 1992-1993 Houston Rockets.

During the streak, the Knicks are averaging 111.3 points on 49 percent shooting. They're hitting 41 percent from beyond the arc.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 9.6
AssistsR. Felton 5.6
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2

NEW YORK CALENDAR