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Thunder's Westbrook focused on playoffs, not historic season

Thunder's Westbrook focused on playoffs, not historic season”

Phil Jackson just gave the strongest indication yet that the New York Knicks will trade Carmelo Anthony before the 2017-18 National Basketball Association season.

On Friday, Jackson said that Anthony "would be better off somewhere else".

NY went 31-51, falling well short of expectations with its third consecutive 50-loss season.

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"We have not been able to win with him on the court", Jackson said. They have not made the playoffs since he took over as president, going 80-166 in that span, even a franchise worst 17-65 during the 2014-2015 season.

In an interview with Ian Begley of ESPN after the Knicks' final game of the season against the Philadelphia 76ers, Carmelo Anthony was asked about the possibility of getting traded this summer. He made several comments about needing help and wanting to win in NY, and it's peculiar that Jackson told him he'd try to put the right pieces around him but never did.

Jackson might be right that Anthony is better off elsewhere. The Knicks can contend if they can put together a better team next season.

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While Anthony can confound Jackson by refusing to leave, Porzingis could be the one to topple Jackson by refusing to stay.

Meanwhile it is the Knicks' loyal fans who suffer, who beg for this team to show some semblance of competency and direction, but find themselves forced to listen to Jackson's ramblings Friday - the NBA's equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. "You just communicate with me", Anthony said after playing in what might have been his final game after 6 1/2 seasons in NY. Anthony isn't an All-NBA-level talent anymore, but he still has a massive contract, with two years and $53 million remaining.

The basis for the Knicks moving Anthony appears to be that he no longer fits Jackson's vision for the organization. Jackson said Anthony did not express a willingness to leave the Knicks but made it clear that he thought Anthony should consider accepting a trade to a team on the cusp of winning the title. "I told him this is not a situation where we're going to dump you or do anything like that, but we're looking to improve ourselves however we can". Jackson said the comment was misconstrued, and said Anthony is an "elite" scorer and has had a Hall of Fame career, though he didn't praise other parts of Anthony's game or walk back earlier comments about Anthony holding the ball for too long.

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