The New York Knicks may be one of the biggest disappointments this season, but Carmelo Anthony claims he's staying.
Fresh off a record-setting performance at the All-Star game, Anthony will try to help the Knicks begin turning around a rough stretch Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, who expect to get Mike Conley back.
New York (20-32) won the Atlantic Division last season, reaching the playoffs for a third straight time. Though the Knicks have struggled to build on that success, they're still in the playoff hunt coming out of the break.
They're 10th in the Eastern Conference, 2 1/2 games back of Charlotte for the eighth and final postseason position.
New York's struggles have fueled speculation that Anthony would be traded before he could leave via free agency after the season.
Anthony, however, says that's not so, and claims he'd take a pay cut to stay in his hometown.
"I know for a fact I'm not being traded," Anthony said. "There's two things: I know for a fact I'm not being traded and I'm not going in there and saying I want to be traded.
"So as far as the money goes, that's not my concern. My concern is being able to compete on a high level, at a championship level coming at this last stretch of my career."
The Knicks haven't looked capable of doing that now, dropping five of six after falling 106-101 at home to last-place Sacramento on Wednesday.
Anthony continued his outstanding play in the loss, with 36 points and 11 rebounds. He ranks second in the league with 27.3 points per game and his 8.6 rebounds are a career high.
He also gave New York its most memorable performance of the season, setting a franchise record with 62 points in a 125-96 win over Charlotte on Jan. 24.
Anthony added another Sunday, setting an All-Star game record with eight 3-pointers en route to 30 points in the East's 163-155 win.
"It was a great feeling," Anthony told the Knicks' official website.
He surely didn't feel that way after scoring 30 points while the rest of the starters totaled 17 in a 95-87 loss to Memphis (29-23) on Dec. 21.
Anthony has averaged 17.0 points in the last two road meetings with the Grizzlies.
He may get some help with J.R. Smith expected to return from a broken cheekbone. He sat out against the Kings because he didn't feel comfortable wearing a protective mask, which he'll don Tuesday.
With Conley back, Memphis will look to pick up where it left off before the break.
Conley, who is averaging team highs of 18.0 points and 6.3 assists, has missed seven games with an ankle injury, while Marc Gasol spent the break resting a hurt knee.
The center, whose status is unclear, missed 23 games earlier this season with a knee injury, and re-aggravated it in Wednesday's 86-81 win at Orlando.
Having at least Conley available could help the Grizzlies build on their 14-4 stretch, during which they've held opponents to 88.9 points and 42.5 percent from the field.
They've won seven of nine at home, matching their win total from the first 19 games there.
Conley, though, missed 14 of 18 attempts from the floor to finish with nine points against the Knicks in December.
Zach Randolph scored 25 and added 15 rebounds in that meeting, and he averages 21.3 and 12.3 in three matchups in Memphis.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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