They played together in 2012-13 on the 54-28 team, far and away the best Knicks team Anthony played on after forcing a trade from the Nuggets. It also was the last Knicks team to reach the playoffs.
Four straight losing seasons have marred Anthony’s time as the Knicks’ franchise player. That time could be nearing an end.
Anthony has said he “can see the writing on the wall.”
Either of the last two games could be his final one in a Knicks uniform.
During the offseason, team president Phil Jackson is expected to try to move Anthony, who appears to be worn down by the losing and his sour relationship with Jackson. Anthony said he is looking forward to his exit meeting with Jackson this week to give him a piece of his mind.
“The chips will be on the table in that meeting,” Anthony said.
Anthony has a no-trade clause, so he can veto any deal. But he probably won’t get to play with a contending team, especially one that includes LeBron James or Chris Paul, Anthony’s two closest friends in the NBA.
The Cavaliers and Clippers are hoping for deep playoff runs, so this process could take a while. How they do will determine how eager they are to make a move, and don’t expect Jackson to get equal value for the perennial All-Star.
If this is Anthony’s last game or two, how will his Knicks career be remembered?
He helped them reach the postseason three times, leading them to one series victory. He was an MVP candidate the season they won 54 games. He set Knicks and MSG records when he scored 62 points against Charlotte in 2014. He helped mentor Kristaps Porzingis, kept the pressure off him in his first two NBA seasons and prepared him for playing in New York.
Anthony never gave as much effort on defense as offense, and he could be a ball-stopper. And missing the playoffs for four straight years hangs on his resume, even if he had help.
But he’s still a terrific scorer — someone a team can go to when it needs a bucket, someone who can go off at any time, someone who can carry a team and hit game-winning shots.
The Knicks would miss that Anthony. There aren’t many players like that, and they’ve had one the past 6 1⁄2 seasons.
Could they still have him next season? Unlikely. Anthony isn’t the only one who can see the writing on the wall.