The New York Knicks' final home game of the season had a familiar feeling for fans at Madison Square Garden as the team played out a game with no meaning because, for the third year in a row, they will not be heading to the playoffs.
After another campaign of frustration for the Knicks, some big decisions and changes are expected to be made in the offseason, the first of which will involve the team's next head coach.
The future of star player Carmelo Anthony has also been up for debate for much of this term and after openly expressing his frustrations on a number of occasions, fans at MSG would've left the arena on Sunday night unsure whether that was the last time they'd see him in a Knicks uniform.
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They'll be pleased then, that Anthony quickly addressed these concerns after the game and delivered some encouraging words for the Knicks faithful.
When asked if he thought he may have played his final home game at MSG, he replied: "No, no, I don’t think about that. Not right now. I can’t think about that. My mindset is just figuring out how we’re going to better this situation, how we’re going to continue to grow as a team, grow as an organization and not get used to going home this early in April."
Melo is determined to put things right in the Big Apple and has had enough of the mediocrity he's been putting up with in the last three seasons. The 31-year-old didn't miss the playoffs in his first 10 years in the league and after admitting he has struggled to watch his peers and closest friends regularly make the postseason, he knows it's time for a change.
The small forward last week said he wants a say in the hiring of the Knicks' next head coach which shows how serious he is to improve the team's fortunes on the court by working with the front office to make the necessary decisions to ensure that happens.
Anthony has three years remaining on the five-year, $124 million contract he signed in the summer of 2014, which contains a no-trade clause. The nine-time All-Star has always reiterated his loyalty to the franchise and his desire to make things work.
But per ESPN, some in the Knicks organisation believe Anthony may change his stance -- and look into his options on the trade market -- if the Knicks fail to add talent in free agency, league sources with knowledge of the situation said last month.
Make no mistake about it, this will be a big summer ahead for the New York Knicks and in particular CEO Jim Dolan, who has infuriated fans with how he has run the team over this poor stretch.
With a substantial amount of cap space available, luring a star player in free agency such as Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, Al Horford or Dwight Howard, could go some way to helping Carmelo carry the load and allow Kristaps Porzingis, who has been a revelation for the team, to improve his game further.
“[There’s] plenty of uncertainty right now,” Anthony said. “That’s what guys get paid the big bucks for, man. Everybody got to put their heads together and try to figure out what’s going on and what’s going to happen and how we can continue moving this ship forward and getting better.”