New York Knicks president Steve Mills said Monday that Carmelo Anthony could remain with the team this season despite acknowledging that the organization would continue to pursue a trade involving the 10-time All-Star.
“We’ve been in contact with Carmelo’s representatives, we’ve been in contact with other teams,” Mills said Monday at a news conference to introduce new general manager Scott Perry. “Our view is if there’s an opportunity that works for Carmelo and works for us, then we’ll look at some kind of trade. But we also feel that Carmelo could easily be a part of our team next year.
“We’re going to move forward so maybe with Carmelo or without Carmelo.”
Mills also said that the Knicks would not pursue a buyout of the remaining years on Anthony’s contract.
Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract, and the Knicks have discussed potential trades of Anthony in recent weeks, with the Houston Rockets being a primary destination of late. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that Anthony is still hoping to be traded to the Rockets, and Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported last week that the Knicks and Rockets were putting trade talks involving Anthony on hold for the moment, which Mills confirmed.
“I felt it was important for us to slow down, regroup as it related to the trade scenarios with Carmelo,” he said. “So we made a decision to slow things down, let us regroup and get together and make sure what’s best for the New York Knicks, and at the same time we’ll do what’s best for Carmelo.”
Mills and Perry, who met with the media for the first time on Monday, said repeatedly that the Knicks were focused on developing a young core of players that included Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez.
Anthony, 33, doesn’t seem to fit that organizational directive, but Mills pointed out that the club’s veterans will play an important role in helping to develop that young core.
“Carmelo’s a great, great basketball player, and if Carmelo is with us, we will continue to develop our young players,” Mills said. “If he’s not here, we’ll continue to develop our young players.”
Mills and Perry are evaluating whether it’s worth allowing time for Anthony’s standing around the NBA to be rebuilt, as opposed to trading him at an all-time low, league sources told Wojnarowski.
The Knicks realize the odds are long of persuading Anthony to simply forget trade talks and accept a return to New York, especially given how aggressively ex-team president Phil Jackson pushed to run Anthony out of town, those sources said.
Mills on Monday did not want to talk about how Jackson may have affected Anthony’s trade value or the organization’s relationship with the veteran forward.
“I think we will be a good developing team if Carmelo is part of the team. We’ll be a good developing team if he isn’t,” Mills said. “We’ll be in constant communication with Carmelo and his camp, and we’ll come to some resolution that works well for both us. ”
Perry added that he is confident that if Anthony remained in New York, he’d be able to establish a “great working relationship” with the veteran forward.
As recently as last weekend, Anthony had told friends that he expected to be traded to Houston, according to sources. Mills declined comment when asked whether he had a meeting scheduled with Anthony or his representatives to discuss the possibility of him staying in New York.