Carmelo Anthony was so confident that he would remain a Knick after Thursday that he napped through the 3 p.m. trade deadline. With a no-trade clause, he had the final say on anything and, he said, there was nothing to consider.
“Obviously,” he said, “nothing was worth bringing to the table.”
There were reports of other moves the Knicks were mulling, but nothing came to fruition. The roster that started the season will finish the season, for better or for worse.
So with a 23-35 record after the loss in Cleveland, the Knicks are now five games out of a playoff spot with 24 games left in the season. The players are still talking about making a playoff push — eight of the next 11 games are against teams with a losing record — but they’re also still talking about struggles with the Triangle Offense and lack of communication on defense, too.
After making no moves prior to the trade deadline, the Knicks are hoping to make a run for the eight spot in the East with the same players that started the season.
Most of the headlines were about moves the Knicks didn’t make to change direction, but it should also be noted that the franchise didn’t make any moves to improve the team’s ability to make a playoff push. Does that send a message?
It did around the NBA. The Knicks built a reputation as a franchise that would trade first round picks for short-term potential. The Knicks would also take on contracts. Two years ago, before a crowd of season ticket holders at a “town hall” style meeting I co-hosted with Al Trautwig, general manager Steve Mills said the days of trading first round picks are over.
So whether the Knicks fail to make the playoffs for a fourth straight season, or make an unexpected run to clinch a berth, they’ll still have their first round pick and salary cap space to retool the roster in the offseason. And they can also revisit any trade talks they might have had before the deadline.
So despite Melo telling reporters that he doesn’t know what management’s vision is for the future of the team, the lack of moves — and efforts that were reportedly made — makes it pretty obvious. And Melo, wielding the no-trade clause, made a telling comment that I can’t believe no one picked up on about his opinion of a plan that, he said, involved making moves at the deadline.
“Now they’ve got to get back to the drawing board and come up with another plan,” he said.
Interesting comment. He went on to say that there “wasn’t really anything kind of worth looking at, talking about or exploring” when it comes to trades that may have involved him.
So with that now in the rear view, Melo is right, the Knicks have to come up with another plan that involves him on the team. But the franchise knows that plan also has to involve developing Kristaps Porzingis and adding more young talent to the team to be ready to emerge when Melo’s time in New York ends.