Scott Perry was about 15 minutes into his introductory press conference as the New York Knicks general manager before he was asked about the fate of the franchise’s most disgruntled player, Carmelo Anthony.
Now that the 53-year old basketball lifer is teaming with newly-minted president Steve Mills to run the franchise, Perry was asked about the fate of Anthony and whether the Knicks and Houston Rockets will re-engage trade talks.
New York was close to trading Anthony to Houston, last week, but they have reportedly put the talks on hold. While Perry and Mills reasoned that talks with the Rockets – or any other team (hello, Cleveland Cavaliers!) — could start up again at any time, the former admitted “there’s no timeline for us” to get a potential Melo deal done.
Mills also won’t rule out the possibility of Melo returning to New York, although according to ESPN, the star forward reportedly has other ideas. Mills also said the Knicks will not pursue a buyout, meaning the only way Anthony departs New York is via trade – a scenario that has so far proved to be fruitless and quite complicated, as at least three to four teams in total will needK to be involved for all the numbers to properly configure.
When asked about the reported strained relationship that the previous regime (ahem, Phil Jackson) had with the team’s biggest star, Mills was as evasive as a Melo fadeaway (“I’m not going to look back on what happened with Carmelo and Phil”).
The new president also allowed that the Knicks will be “a good, developing team if Carmelo is part of the team … [and] be a good, developing team if he isn’t.”
Mills refused to look back on player/club relations, but was more than happy to discuss the squad’s future, particularly the most recent signing of Tim Hardaway Jr., who was a former Knicks’ draft pick, then traded to the now-dysfunctional Atlanta Hawks, only to get reacquainted with an even more dysfunctional Knicks outfit. But leaving the decaying Hawks roster for the maladjusted Knicks is a lot easier to handle when there’s a guaranteed $71 million awaiting.
The Knicks had a more pressing need to find a quality veteran backup behind projected rookie starter Frank Ntilikina, but Mills made it known that Junior was atop the team’s wish list.
Mills explained Hardaway Jr.’s bloated contract by saying the Knicks needed to be “aggressive” to pry away any restricted free agents, which is why New York offered nearly $20 million more than Atlanta was willing to offer him. Perry “applauded” the signing from afar while in Sacramento and agreed with Mills’s assertion that once the clock struck 12:01 a.m. to commence free agency, the former Hawk was the team’s “top priority.”
The duo noted that because of Junior’s ascension and youth, the Knicks had to have him. Hardaway improved his numbers in each of the last two seasons (6.4 to 14.5 points per game/43-percent shooting to 45 percent), showing that the fifth-year shooting guard is beginning to hit his stride.
The youth description is what Perry and Mills used quite often when discussing the direction of the franchise. The Knicks want to get younger, more athletic, and defensive oriented – three qualities devoid in Anthony’s game.
However the rest of the summer shakes out, the Knicks’ new braintrust have their work cut out for them, as they seek to end the franchise’s four-year playoff drought.