Carmelo Anthony celebrates a three-point shot. Photo: Reuters
Carmelo Anthony has played his last game of the season and perhaps as a Knick.
An MRI on Anthony's right shoulder revealed a small tear in his labrum. The Knicks said no surgery is required at this time. Anthony will be re-evaluated in about a month. The Knicks end the regular season on Wednesday night against the Raptors.
It's the first time in his 11-year NBA career that Anthony won't be participating in the playoffs. That could have Anthony considering a change of address this summer in free agency.
"I have a lot to think about," Anthony told TNT before Tuesday night's game against the Nets.
Anthony, who played in the postseason last year with a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his left shoulder, has said his hope is to remain and retire a Knick. They can offer the seven-time All-Star a five-year, $129 million deal, which is about $33 million more than any other team can.
It would be difficult for Anthony to turn down a full max deal. He forced a trade to the Knicks three years ago, and wants to lead the Knicks to their first championship since 1973.
But amid the Knicks' struggles, Anthony seemed to waver about his commitment to returning. Anthony said that money doesn't matter as much as playing for a title-contender. The Knicks aren't so constituted and may not be next season, depending on what team president Phil Jackson does with the roster
The Bulls are a ready-made contender and could free up money to pay Anthony a max deal.
The Rockets, the No. 4 seed out West, reportedly also have an interest in Anthony, but it would require a sign-and-trade to get him to Houston.
Jackson said Anthony is a part of the Knicks' plans. An 11-time champion as a coach, Jackson understands you need stars to win.
Anthony is scheduled to have his exit interview with Jackson on Thursday. Either then or in the near future, Jackson is expected to lay out the Knicks' plan for becoming a contender. Anthony has said he would tell management what players, or kinds of players, he would like on his team.
He called the hiring of Jackson "a power move," and said it makes the Knicks more attractive to him and other players.
The Knicks don't have much room to add players this summer, so Jackson would have to be creative. They could be in position to sign multiple stars in 2015. If that's the plan, Anthony would have to decide whether he's willing to wait.
Anthony averaged 27.4 points and career-high 8.1 rebounds this season. He played with the tear in his shoulder for about two weeks as he tried to help get the Knicks into the playoffs.
"I feel for him more than anybody," Mike Woodson said. "The kind of season that he had he deserves to be in the playoffs. I feel bad about that."
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision.
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