- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Following what could have been his final game of the season and perhaps even last as a New York Knick on Sunday, Carmelo Anthony still seemed like he was in a state of shock about not making the playoffs.
The Knicks were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday night. However, Anthony said missing the postseason for the first time in his career hadn’t really set in ... yet.
Getting ready for summer vacation this early is a more agonizing feeling for Anthony than the pain he feels in his throbbing shoulder, which ultimately could keep him out of the remaining two games of the season.
“It was a tough day,” Anthony said after the Knicks beat the Bulls, 100-89, at the Garden. “It was a tough night last night. ... A lot of thoughts were going through my mind. Last night. Right now.”
“There’s so much going on right now,” he continued. “Me never being in this situation before, not knowing how to feel or what to feel right now. It’s going to take a minute for me to kind of decompress and kind of come back down to earth a little bit.”
Anthony scored 17 points in 28 minutes but did not play in the fourth quarter after his shoulder began bothering him again.
There’s really no reason why Anthony should continue playing at this point anyway. So if he does shut it down, there's a possibility Sunday's triumph could be his final game in a Knicks uniform.
Anthony said it was hard for him to think about anything concerning his future. He really was having trouble coming to grips with the disappointment of not making the postseason and why the Knicks underachieved.
“I’m telling you, it’s hard for me to even think about that,” Anthony said when asked about having hope for next season. “Everything for me is just cloudy. I’ve never been in the situation before. I don’t know what to say about this situation.
“The only thing for me is to stay positive throughout this situation,” he added. “There’s going to be a lot of questions that I have, that I’m going to be asking myself: Why this? Why that? I’m pretty sure I won’t find no answers anytime soon. We’ll see what happens.”
Anthony, who will opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, was then asked how this season will factor into his decision.
“As far as that goes, all this stuff will come into consideration,” Anthony said. “But I won’t never make it seem like because of this season I’m going to become a free agent. It has nothing to do with [how] this season went. Even if we had the greatest of a season, I probably would still be in that situation.”
There will be plenty of speculation from now until he makes a decision in July over where Anthony could go. One possible destination is Chicago.
There’s a mutual admiration shared between Anthony and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau (along with the same agency, CAA). Anthony has seen how Thibodeau has coped after losing Derrick Rose to injury and Luol Deng in a trade.
The Bulls could be one of Anthony’s biggest suitors this summer. And it will be up to a former Bull to keep Anthony in New York.
Anthony said once again that the Knicks’ hiring of Phil Jackson as team president made a splash with him.
“That was a big play,” Anthony said. “That was definitely a big play for our organization, for the Knicks, for me.”
For now, though, all Anthony can think about is the bitter taste in his mouth left by missing the postseason for the first time in his career.
“When that time comes I’m pretty sure everything will be laid out, we would talk about it,” he said of his future. “Until then I’m going to feel this way.”
2dIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer