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OAKLAND, Calif. – Since Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks on Feb. 22, 2011, the franchise has been a revolving door of players and has had four different head coaches and a major front-office shakeup. There also hasn’t been much postseason momentum, and the team is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third straight year.
So how much patience does Anthony have as the prime of his career begins to dwindle away? The All-Star forward answered that question and covered a variety of subjects, including Knicks president and Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, in an interview Wednesday with Yahoo Sports.
You turn 32 years old on May 29. With your age, at this stage of your NBA career, what comes to mind about the state of your career?
Anthony: “I don’t want to say a sense of urgency. I think it’s more of stability, consistency. I got to find something that I can be comfortable with and still enjoy it at the same time, still have fun at the same time.”
Q: In your Knicks tenure, a co-star, Amaré Stoudemire, struggled mightily with injuries before departing and there have been coaching and front-office changes. How different has your time with New York been than was expected?
Anthony: “There was so much I kind of had to go through from the amount of players I had to play with every year, coach changes, GMs, presidents. Since I’ve been here I don’t think there has been any consistency with the core that has been there. When I got there Amaré was there, and I figured I would be there for a long time. We had a run that year [East semifinals, 2012-13] with Jason [Kidd] and everybody.
“I had a feeling we would build off of that, even though those guys were kind of older. Just build off of that momentum, seeing the way guys wanted to play and guys that we wanted around. And the next year they cleaned everything out.”
Q: The odds are that you are going to see another coach …
Anthony: “Yeah. Yeah. And more players. I just shake my head to it. Someone asked me, ‘Why haven’t you complained about it?’ Complaining doesn’t get me anywhere. I always feel like I can get through the situation and make it better.”
Q: Why do you still have hope it can work in New York?
Anthony: “I got hope in myself. I do have to believe in the process. I don’t want to say this was all part of the plan coming back [to New York]. This is a big, big summer.”
Q: What would you like to see happen this summer? What do the Knicks need to do?
Anthony: “I don’t really want to say exactly. But I think we need something we can put together that is going to be there over the next couple of years. Now it’s time to start competing for a championship, not just competing for the playoffs. Those days for me are over with.”
Q: So how does that happen? How do you go from a struggling team to an NBA title contender?
Anthony: “It’s not going to happen overnight. But the ball is not in my court at this point. It comes to what [the front office] wants to do in the offseason. It’s up to them to make those decisions and at that time I will figure it out.”
Q: Is there anything Jackson has said that gives you confidence in the future?
“We had a great conversation [recently]. It was just one conversation. At this point, it’s more show me rather than tell me. That’s where I am at.”
Q: How much power do you have with [your] no-trade clause?
Anthony: “I guess I have all the power. If I really wanted to get out of this situation I could have waived that no-trade clause. But I’ve stuck with it and I’m still sticking with it. I don’t know, maybe my loyalty has come back to bite me in the ass. As of right now, I am sticking to it.”
Q: What is keeping you loyal to the Knicks?
Anthony: “I wanted to be here. This is a place I wanted to be. This is a place where I envisioned myself, winning in New York.”
Q: If you departed from New York without achieving the success you dreamed of, would that be something that would always bother you?
Anthony: “All that stuff comes into consideration. I think about all that stuff. This is a place that is feenin’ to win. Of course, win a championship, but be in position to win.”
Q: Have you ever thought about "what if?" How it would have been had you stayed with the Nuggets?
Anthony: “Always. Always. Always. Things would have been different. Things would have been communicated different as far as the players. It was just bad timing, too. Contracts being up at the same time. I don’t think they knew what direction they were going in. The [coach] George Karl situation, battling cancer at that time. Everything was in shambles there at that time.”
Q: Do you hope a day comes when your jersey will be retired in Denver and the fans will forgive your departure?
Anthony: “I would love that. I spent 7½ years there. I would hope so. I don’t think there are any hard feelings. When I left I did not badmouth Denver. I didn’t disrespect Denver. It was more of a business decision at that point.”
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