Jeff Hornacek: Carmelo Anthony ‘excited for next year’

By Jesse Reed

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek, via email correspondence with Carmelo Anthony, says the star forward is “excited for next year.”

Speaking with WFAN in New York, via Ian Begley of ESPN.com, Hornacek added, “he’s a great player. I don’t think he’s that old. He’s right at that prime time for him and he’s going to help carry the team but we can’t put it all on him.”

At this point, it seems unlikely that Knicks fans are as excited for next year as Hornacek says Anthony is.

Now, there is a chance (albeit a minuscule one) that New York will be just hunky dory next season under Hornacek. But on the surface, it sure looks like this franchise is doomed to another campaign mired in mediocrity. It’s looking like Kurt Rambis will be joining the staff as an assistant, almost assuredly for the sole purpose of helping the offense implement aspects of the dreaded triangle.

Hornacek has made it clear he intends to implement a defensive philosophy that will hopefully lead to fast-break opportunities, and he isn’t committed to making the triangle the key element of his offense.

Essentially, what we have here is a conflict of interests. It didn’t work out well at all when Derek Fisher attempted a similar approach, and it’s hard to imagine things will be different next season.

Anthony suffered through one of his worst statistical seasons in terms of scoring and shooting last year when he averaged 21.8 points, hitting on just 43.4 percent from the field and 33.9 from behind the arc. As the roster is currently constructed, New York is lacking front-court depth and back-court talent. Besides Anthony and second-year forward Kristaps Porzingis, there aren’t a lot of bright spots.

And as much as the Knicks would love to believe Hornacek can lure top free agents to New York, consider us skeptical on this count.

The offseason should provide more clarity about what we should expect from the Knicks in 2016-17. At this point, however, it’s hard to imagine Anthony will be all that excited about being stuck in New York midway through the campaign, even if he is feeling optimistic right now.