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Carmelo Anthony says Knicks trade is ‘bigger’ than people think

The NBA vet says he’s not leaving the team ‘without having a plan’

Now that the NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans is over, we bring you back to your regularly scheduled drama called the New York Knicks.

The team newcomer guard Derrick Rose’s unexcused game absence in December 2016 seems like forever ago. Former Knicks great Charles Oakley’s recent run-in with team owner James Dolan was embarrassing for the struggling franchise that hasn’t won a championship since 1973. The Knicks also entered All-Star Weekend with a 23-34 record, fourth-worst in the East.

The biggest spotlight on the team this week is back to whether they will get rid of the-very-hard-to-trade Carmelo Anthony.

But Melo says it’s not that simple.

“I haven’t figured out a situation that makes sense for both parties. I am not the kind of guy who just goes out there and says, ‘Get me outta here … get me outta here,’ without having a plan. It’s bigger than that,” Anthony told The Undefeated after Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game.

The Knicks would love to trade Anthony before Thursday’s trade deadline. He is making a mammoth $26.5 million this season and has two more years on his contract paying $26.2 million and $27.9 million, respectively. The 10-time NBA All-Star also has a “no-trade clause,” when means his consent would be needed for a trade. The 32-year-old also has an expensive 15 percent trade kicker.

The Knicks currently have nothing strong on the trade front for Anthony, a source told The Undefeated. One NBA general manager told The Undefeated that the Knicks told him they don’t believe Anthony would waive his trade kicker.

“I haven’t heard anything. I haven’t talked to anybody,” Anthony said.

Knicks president Phil Jackson has been openly critical of Anthony in what appears to be a ploy to persuade him to waive his no-trade clause. There have been reports that Anthony would be willing to waive the clause for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics. Anthony has said repeatedly that his preference is to stay in New York, and those close to him say it’s not coach speak. He could be open to considering waiving his no-trade clause for a great opportunity, a source said.

The Knicks return to practice in Westchester, New York, on Tuesday. Anthony, however, doesn’t have to return until Wednesday, since he played in the All-Star Game. The Knicks’ first game after the NBA All-Star Game is on the road against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday. Anthony was scheduled to return to New York City via charter plane early Monday morning and looks forward to relaxing his brain for a few days.

“Mentally I’m good. For me, I’m trying to compartmentalize it and deal with it to be able to focus and have a clear mind. I’m just trying to play basketball and have fun. Sometimes I feel like I am not allowing it to be fun with everything going on. The last two months has been about me trying to enjoy the game,” Anthony said.

One member of the Anthony family who is enjoying the game is his son, Kiyan.

Anthony earned his 10th overall All-Star selection last week as a replacement for injured Cavaliers forward Kevin Love. He has been an NBA All-Star every year that Kiyan, who turns 10 on March 8, has been alive. Anthony adores the fact that his son is a basketball junkie who wants to be a great player like his father. The youngster actually chose to play for his AAU basketball team in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend instead of going to New Orleans to watch his dad suit up with the NBA’s best.

“I’m proud of him. Originally, I wasn’t selected. The tournament was there and he was happy to go and that was going to be during our All-Star break. At the last minute things changed, but he was happy to go to the tournament,” Anthony said.

Kiyan’s dad hopes he can be happy playing basketball again soon, too.

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for The Undefeated. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.