Rushing: The Writing On The Wall Clear Enough For Carmelo Anthony and The Knicks

If this was the end for Carmelo Anthony in orange and blue, he wanted to make sure it was on the court.

The ten-time NBA All-Star took to the court for game 82 on the 2016-17 NBA calendar, the regular season finale.

“He feels healthy and wants to play,” said Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek before the Knicks took on the Sixers at Madison Square Garden. “It’s a sport he loves to play. Who knows what the future is going to hold if he’s here. I think that’s everyone’s mentality right now. He gets along with all our players and wants to end the season the right way and play. It’s hard to keep guys out if they’re feeling good.”

Anthony had missed the previous two games, because of a sore left knee.

If Anthony decided to instead sit this one out, could anyone really find fault with him? But that’s not Anthony’s style, he wanted to finish the season out with his guys on the court.

Anthony was the last Knick to take the court for pregame warmups, he jogged out of the locker room with a look as if he was savoring that one last trip through the tunnel and into the bright spotlight of the World’s Most Famous Arena. The one where a professional athlete knows the end is near.

Maurice Ndour helped spark a 9-2 run down the stretch to help the Knicks come from behind to secure a 114-113 victory over Philadelphia. Fellow youngster Justin Holiday scored a team-high 20 points, 14 of those came in the second half.

Justin Anderson scored a game-high 26 points for a Sixers team finishing out their season without Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, and Dario Saric.

Anthony finished with 17 points in just 23 minutes of action, he sat out the fourth quarter listening to chants of “We Want Melo” from the bench while watching the youngsters pull off the comeback win.

Hornacek was right about one thing, no one knows what’s ahead for Anthony’s future with the Knicks.

The writing on the wall, Anthony confirmed he sees, likely has the Knicks primed for a fresh start and preparing to move forward without him.

Team president Phil Jackson will have his ears open this summer for any logical opportunity he’s presented with to trade Anthony – that’s if Anthony decides to waive the no-trade clause in his contract.

See, what had happened was …

It’s not the ending to this season Jackson or Anthony had to have envisioned last Summer.

Jackson, appearing to change courses from a rebuild, went out and traded for Derrick Rose then signed Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, and Courtney Lee with the goal of getting Anthony more help to lead the Knicks back into the postseason.

Rose made headlines for skipping out on the Knicks before a game without telling anyone where he was going. This is the same Derrick Rose that thought the Knicks, heading into this season, were a super team. His season ended with knee surgery, his time with the Knicks should end as well.

Jennings, maybe like Anthony, also saw the writing on the wall. Seven years into his NBA career, Jennings was excited to finally play in the Garden for the home team. It only took him 58 games in a Knicks uniform to decide it was time to move on if he had any hopes of playing in the postseason this season. The Knicks granted Jennings his release, he quickly signed with the playoff-bound Washington Wizards.

Jackson, perhaps thinking he needed to make a splash in free agency, unfortunately brought James Dolan’s checkbook with him to the pool when he signed Noah to a four-year, $72 million deal. Noah, as many predicted, spent more time on the injured list than he did on the court. The Knicks are stuck with him, his injuries, and on the hook for his money.

Go figure Courtney Lee would be the last man standing with Anthony at the end of this season. It would be difficult to find fault with anything Lee brought to the table for the Knicks, he did what was expected of him – which wasn’t much.

What next for Anthony? It’ll be his fourth consecutive season coming to an end without a spot in the playoffs. Another year without a chance to compete for an NBA title. He’s 33 years old, running out of time, and playing for a team which has failed to take the next step with him as their leader and failed to surround him with the right pieces to help him.

What should be next for Anthony is a request to Jackson to get him out of there. Jackson basically did everything short of painting it across the exterior of the Garden to let him know that it’s time.

It’s time. Everyone knows it, and maybe, just maybe, Anthony’s finally realized it too.

Yes, Anthony can see the writing on the wall. In case he doesn’t, however, Jackson will most likely remind him during the offseason.

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