Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks appear to be getting closer and closer to a split.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the superstar forward’s camp has tried to “engage” the Knicks in buyout talks.
Stein adds that the Knicks are currently not interested in a buyout as it would allow for Anthony to join forces with his close friend LeBron James in Cleveland.
Stein’s colleague at ESPN — Ian Begley — says the Knicks would rather trade Anthony and receive assets in return.
Anthony is currently owed a little over $54 million over the next two seasons — as part of his five-year, $124 million contract he signed back in 2014. After the the 2016-2017, Anthony is able to opt out of his contract but that is highly unlikely to happen due to his age, 34, and diminishing market value.
Knicks team president Phil Jackson has been clear in recent months about his desire to trade Anthony and go through a full rebuild. However, Jackson — to this point — has been unable to convince Anthony to waive his no-trade clause, something the Zen Master gave Anthony when the two hashed out that five-year deal three years ago.
Anthony and James are the only two players in the NBA who currently possess a no-trade clause. The Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki also held a no-trade clause in his contract but recently had his team option declined. It is expected he will sign a new deal with the Mavericks and it’s entirely plausible a no-trade is inserted into that contract.
At his end of the season press conference in April, Jackson was asked about Anthony’s future with the team.
“We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time, and I think the direction with our team is that he is a player that will be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship,” Jackson said.
In May at the NBA Draft combine, Jackson again declared his interest in trading Anthony:
“We’d like him to have success. The opportunity is narrowing. We’d just like him to have success somewhere. We’re not going to be there,” Jackson said.
And finally, just last week prior to the NBA Draft, Jackson said in an interview with MSG Network about Anthony, “We’ve expressed the fact that we haven’t been successful and it might be time for (Carmelo) to find an opportunity to go somewhere else. He’s come back and said he’d just as soon stay.”
Anthony has been steadfast in his desire to stay in New York City and remain close to his 10-year-old son Kiyan.
“The most important thing with that is just to stay close to Kiyan. That’s my priority, that’s his priority. So wherever he ends up, of course we want him to be happy,” Anthony told the talk show host when asked about a potential trade.