Head coach Jeff Hornacek is making sure Carmelo Anthony knows that he’s still a welcome and wanted member of the New York Knicks.
If New York Knicks fans could, they’d likely forget the first 54 games of the 2016-17 NBA regular season. The off-court drama has been a distraction to both the players and fans, and the on-court execution has failed to provide reasons to ignore said issues.
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One could argue that no issue has been more of a distraction than the incessant trade rumors surrounding franchise player Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony has a no-trade clause that will ultimately determine whether or not he’s traded. Unfortunately, he and team president Phil Jackson are engrossed in a public feud that has defined the Knicks’ season.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, head coach Jeff Hornacek endorsed Anthony and voiced his support of a potential decision to remain with the Knicks.
“Carmelo’s got the voice to that,’’ Hornacek said Wednesday. “He’s got the no-trade. He can do whatever he wants. I’d love to have him here. I think he’s a great player. He’s been great with the coaching staff.’’
No one seems to know where Anthony’s head is, but it’s an indisputable fact that he’s in control of his own destiny.
Hornacek’s support will be crucial to Anthony’s success with the Knicks. He’s under a guaranteed contract through 2017-18 and has a $27,928,140 player option for the 2018-19 season that he could conceivably accept.
At that point in time, Anthony will be a 34-year-old star competing with younger players for a max contract.
Whether or not Anthony accepts his player option in 2017-18, he’ll be in control of his own destiny during the 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 seasons.
Working with that knowledge, Anthony’s damaged relationship with Jackson requires those who operate more closely with ‘Melo to be on good terms with him. Thankfully, Hornacek has been nothing but supportive of Anthony during these trying times.
In order for the Knicks to realize their potential during the Anthony era, that relationship between he and Hornacek must remain intact.