Carmelo Anthony’s former teammate needed just a few seconds to ponder the question and deliver a definitive answer.

“I think he’s leaving. I’ve played with Melo for a long time and he knows he can’t win here. At this stage, all he wants to do is win. That’s why he’ll leave.”

The Knicks begin the new year with the same old problems — an injury-depleted roster,
underperforming players, a losing record and a cloud of uncertainty over Anthony’s future with the club. That 2014 would start with a game against the San Antonio Spurs is appropriate because since the two teams met in the 1999 NBA Finals, one franchise has emerged as the gold standard in the NBA while the other is pure comic gold. Six weeks ago, Anthony called the Knicks a “laughingstock” and the joke is still on them.

At 9-21, the Knicks will need a small miracle to finish with a winning record, but a sub-.500 mark won’t necessarily keep them out of playoffs. Still, it’s a long way from winning 54 games last season and at least being classified a championship contender.