Scotto: The Knicks’ $129 Million Question: Will Carmelo Anthony Stay?

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Carmelo Anthony“I want to be a free agent,” Carmelo Anthony told the New York Observer prior to the season.

By publicly saying so, Anthony’s impending free agency became a constant and colossal distraction as large as the Empire State Building and simultaneously induced a chain reaction of numerous rumors during the season.

J.R. Smith playfully alluded to the constant media speculation when asked if he would talk to Anthony about his future this summer.

“I’m not going to talk to him at all,” Smith said Tuesday. “He’s got to talk to you all every day about it.”

“Yeah, it’s the talk, it’s the topic any and everywhere I go, on the court, off the court,” Anthony said during his exit interview on Thursday. “Guys want to know what you’re going to do. Guys have their opinions, whether it’s to come play with them or do something else.”

Ironically, the same free agency speculation and drama that once consumed Denver – and ultimately forced the Nuggets to trade Anthony to the Knicks – has resurfaced in New York.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tweet of the Night: J.R. Smith impressed by Iman Shumpert’s crossover on Paul Pierce

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The Brooklyn Nets are headed to the playoffs while the New York Knicks have been eliminated, but that didn’t stop the Knicks from dispatching their crosstown rivals once again, taking the season series 3-1 on Tuesday with a 109-98 victory despite playing without Carmelo Anthony and mostly without Tyson Chandler. In the three wins, New York has outscored Brooklyn by an average of 23.3 points.

Iman Shumpert had some particularly fine moments in the contest, including this off-the-backboard alleyoop and a deadly crossover that put Paul Pierce to the ground:

J.R. Smith was thrilled about the move during the game, and expressed his feelings once again after the contest:

Curry, Hollinger, Bledsoe and more around the league react to accomplishments and failures as season winds down

Magic Johnson, Kevin Love, Others Remember Jackie Robinson

James Park is the chief blogger of Sheridan Hoops. You can find him on twitter @SheridanBlog

The Knicks failed to make the playoffs and we could have seen it coming

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knicks_suck“Nobody was expecting this,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said of his team missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“At the beginning of the season, nobody ever thought we’d be in this situation, in this position that we’re in right now,” said star forward Carmelo Anthony, who will not play in the postseason for the first time in his 11 year career. After coming into last year’s postseason as the second seed in the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks are a lottery team. But to say no one was expecting this outcome would be a lie.

On Oct. 15 of last year, practically six months ago to the day, ESPN’s computer-based, analytics driven computer projection system called SCHOENE predicted that the Knicks would finish the season 37-45. Their current record after 80 games? 35-45 and eliminated from the playoff race.

In explaining why the SCHONE projections had the Knicks faring so poorly, two of the reasons Kevin Pelton gave were the team’s projected 3-point outage and the aging roster. Both proved true to an extent, as you’ll see later in this column.

Six months ago, the team’s response to this prediction was typically and naturally bombastic.

“Sometimes there’s glitches in the computer,’’ Anthony said on Oct. 16. “That’s all I can say.’’

WoodsonWoodson took it even further, asking if the computer model is the one that plays. “It’s a computer system. I don’t think computers run up and down the floor,” Woodson said. “You still have to play the game, guys. I don’t get caught up in that. I don’t have any control over the computers. The only thing I can control is our team and how we play.’’

Half a year later, Woodson and Anthony were singing different tunes about how their season turned so sour.

May: The Future of Four Floundering Flagship Franchises

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We are about to witness what may be a first in the long history of the NBA. For the first time, four of the JacksonKnicksleague’s flagship franchises could well be out of the playoffs.

OK, the Knicks aren’t technically out of the race in the Hindenburg Conference, but they have a lot of ground to make up on Atlanta – four games in the loss column with 13 to play. The Celtics, Lakers and 76ers all are making plans for the 2014 draft lottery and the riches it may (or may not) provide.

Twenty years ago, the Celtics, Lakers and Sixers all missed the postseason, but the Pat Riley-coached Knicks made it all the way to the NBA Finals, losing in seven games to the Houston Rockets. That remains the best Knicks’ playoff run since the 1973 championship season (moreso than their surprising appearance in the 1999 Finals, where they were decided underdogs to the Spurs and lost in five.)

But at no time since 1949, when the Lakers entered the NBA in Minneapolis, and the 76ers came in as the Syracuse Nationals, have all four of these marquee teams been on the outside looking in when the playoffs arrived. (The Celtics and Knicks started in 1946.)

Scotto: Knicks Making Melo’s Free Agency Decision Easy

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Carmelo AnthonyWho needs the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to come to town when you have the Knicks at Madison Square Garden?

Just when you think it can’t get worse for the Knicks, it does. Carmelo Anthony appears more tired than ever of being the ringleader.

Before facing the Miami Heat on Thursday night, Anthony told the media which factors he will consider when making his free agency decision – and it’s not good news for the Knicks.

“A lot of things are going to be thought about when that time comes,” he said. “Off the court, on the court, just a lot of things are going to have to be put all on the table.”