The New York Knicks’ season didn’t take long to fall into a downward spiral.
After starting 2-1 and showing hints of promise in a new era under Phil Jackson, the Knicks went on a seven-game losing streak in November, then another 10-game losing streak into December. At 5-28, they have the second worst record in the NBA, and have lost 18 of their last 19 games.
For Carmelo Anthony, who re-signed with the Knicks on a five-year, $US124 million deal, it’s turned into a nightmare.
Anthony’s comments on the season have slowly turned darker and darker in what’s turned into a lost season in the prime of his career.
At 5-25 a little over a week ago, Anthony reflected on the Knicks winning 54 games two years ago, and said:
“I’m not a guy who likes to go back in the past, but seeing where we were a couple of years ago, I thought we’d build on that the next year and be better and move toward that direction. To be sitting here at 5-25, it don’t even seem real right now.”
After a Christmas Day loss to the Wizards, Anthony bleakly said, “The fans are dying, we’re dying. We’re out there, we’re not producing. We didn’t expect, I didn’t expect to be sitting at 5-26.”
The Knicks have since dropped two more contests, most recently against the Portland Trail Blazers, in which Anthony sat out the second half with knee soreness. At 23 games below .500 and well out of the playoff race even in a weak Eastern Conference, Anthony and the Knicks are debating shutting him down to let him heal his knee.
On Monday afternoon, Anthony again got dark, saying:
“It’s a tough situation. We come into each game and get the same result night in and night out. It’s tough. Mentally, it’s tough. Emotionally, it’s tough. When you don’t have those things clicking on the same page, everything is just crumbling, and that’s the feeling right now.”
Nobody can blame Anthony for being so bleak. At 30 years old, he re-upped with the Knicks because they could offer him considerably more money, and he seemingly believed in Phil Jackson’s guided future of the team.
Within weeks of the start of the season, there were reports of fights and dissatisfaction with Jackson’s triangle offence. The only attainable upside for this season is to tank for a no. 1 pick in next year’s draft.
While that may help the Knicks in the future, it doesn’t mean much for Anthony, who at 30 years old, has only, reasonably, two or three years left in his prime. Even with a top pick and loads of cap room next summer, the Knicks don’t seem like desirable place for free agents to go, and that certainly has to weigh heavily on Anthony, who could’ve joined contenders like the Bulls or Rockets last summer.
Anthony is now playing through a knee injury for a lottery-bound team in the midst of his prime — probably not what he pictured this summer when he rejoined the Knicks.
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