For the second year in a row, the Knicks did not reach a deal, although this time it was more surprising.
The Knicks had shopped Anthony, 32, around for weeks in hopes of acquiring assets to build around Kristaps Porzingis. But Anthony’s no-trade clause and hefty contract — he’s due $26.2 million next season and has a $27.9 million player option for 2018-19 — were obstacles.
New York had reportedly gauged the interest of the Cavaliers, Celtics and Clippers — contending teams that Anthony might have considered waiving his no-trade clause for. But the 10-time All-Star has insisted he wants to remain a Knick and build a winner in New York. He also expressed hesitation of uprooting his wife and son.
However, the Anthony trade rumors are unlikely to die. They’ll just be put on ice until the offseason.
The relationship between Jackson and Anthony has soured over the past several weeks. Jackson complicated matters further earlier this month by taking what many viewed as a veiled shot at Anthony on Twitter, although the “Zen Master” insisted his words were misinterpreted.
There have been other flareups in the Jackson-Anthony relationship.
Anthony sided with friend LeBron James after Jackson, in an ESPN interview in November, called James’ entourage “a posse.” “I would never want to hear that word about me and my — I don’t want to say crew — but people that I consider family or people that I come up (with), been through thick and thin with,” Anthony said.
In December on the CBS Sports Network’s “We Need to Talk,” Jackson criticized Anthony for holding the ball too long. Anthony responded with a pair of Instagram posts. In the first, he wrote: “EGO is the only requirement to destroy any relationship. So, be a BiGGER person, skip the ‘E’ and let it ‘GO.’” The second post included a photo of Muhammad Ali surrounded by arrows, with Anthony writing, “UN-Phased (MyLifeSummedUpInOnePhoto).”
And in January, FanRag Sports’ Charley Rosen, Jackson’s biographer and confidant, wrote a column saying Anthony had outlived his usefulness in New York. Some observers believed that opinion might have been conveyed to Rosen by Jackson, although the writer denied that he had spoken to the Knicks president before publishing the piece. Jackson, however, did little to reassure Anthony he was still wanted in the organization.
As for Rose, several teams had reportedly shown interest in acquiring the former MVP, including the Minnesota Timberwolves. A trade with the T-Wolves would have likely yielded 26-year-old point guard Ricky Rubio in return.
But such a move would have been a head-scratcher because Rose, 28, is in the final year of his contract and Minnesota is in 13th place in the Western Conference.
The Knicks were reportedly ready to pull the trigger on a Rose-for-Rubio trade. But some members in the Timberwolves organization were concerned that it would be difficult to re-sign Rose in the offseason, the New York Post’s Marc Berman reported, citing league sources. Some Minnesota officials also didn’t care for Rose’s style of play, the Post reported.
The Knicks acquired Rose in a trade with the Bulls last summer in exchange for center Robin Lopez and point guards Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon. But Rose has not been the difference-maker the front office had hoped for. He is averaging 17.7 points per game. However, he has been a defensive liability and his 4.5 assists per game rank just 45th in the league.
The Knicks are 23-34 and are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. They play at the defending world champion Cavaliers on Thursday night.