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New York Knicks

Knicks remain open to trading Carmelo Anthony but won’t buy him out

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) defends New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) in the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — The New York Knicks remain open to trading Carmelo Anthony if the right opportunity presents itself, but won’t buy him out and let him go for nothing.

That was one of the overriding messages from a press conference here Monday that featured President Steve Mills, new GM Scott Perry and coach Jeff Hornacek.

“As it relates to Carmelo, we’ve in contact with Carmelo’s representatives and we’ve been in contact with other teams,” said Mills, who was promoted to President after Phil Jackson was fired. “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.”

He added that the team’s future “may be with Carmelo or it may be without Carmelo.”

Anthony, 33, has two years and $54 million left on his contract. After three straight 50-plus loss seasons in New York, he has been linked to possible deals with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets, with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim telling FanRagSports.com last week that Anthony could make the Rockets a challenger to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Asked flat out if the Knicks would consider a buy-out, Mills said, “No.”

Mills also said he has no timetable in mind on a resolution for Anthony’s status.

“No, there’s no set timeline for us,” he said.

The Knicks repeated that their plan is to build around younger players like Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Willy Hernangomez and new draft pick Frank Ntilikina.

Still, Anthony has been the team’s dominant player since arriving from the Nuggets, and it remains unclear how they would develop younger players if he’s still in the mix.

“If Carmelo’s here, we’re going to continue to develop our young players,” Mills said.

“If he’s not here we’re going to still develop our young players so it doesn’t make sense to speculate how that’s going to work.”

Jackson repeatedly said the team and Anthony would be better off without each other, and the new brain trust was asked if they’ve damaged their leverage — or their relationship with Anthony — as a result of that treatment.

“I’m not going to look back on what happened with Carmelo with Phil,” Mills said. “What I know is that I’ve been in communication with Carmelo and Carmelo’s team following the season.

“We will be a good developing team if Carmelo’s a part of the team and we will be a good developing team if Carmelo isn’t. We will be constant communication with Carmelo’s camp and we’ll come to some resolution that works well for both of us.”

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Adam Zagoria is a basketball insider who has run ZAGSBLOG.com since 2006. He is a college basketball contributor for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the co-host of The Four Quarters Podcast via VSporto.com, which is available via iTunes. Zagoria is also a contributor to The New York Times. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.

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