Knicks F Carmelo Anthony sat out the entire fourth quarter on Monday night during the team's loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles.
"Coach is starting to realize - he mentioned today he's going to start shortening minutes,'' Anthony said, according to the NY Post. "I've been understanding with the situation. I understand.''
"All the young guys, it's an opportunity to get that experience instead of getting practice experience, individual workouts - actually getting it live and direct in a game against top-level opponents," Anthony continued. "It's best to take advantage of that and for me to help them.''
Head coach Jeff Hornacek said on March 17 that he would continue to give regular minutes to the team's veterans unless told otherwise by management.
The Knicks attempted to trade Anthony prior to the deadline and are expected to again explore potential deals for him after the season.
Against the Clippers, Anthony's 25 minutes were the fewest he's played since December 31. Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee also joined Anthony in playing fewer than 30 minutes in the contest.
The writing has been on the wall for quite a while now and the Knicks are finally ready to turn the page on this season's chapter. 12 games is a decent amount of time to evaluate some of the team's youngsters.
The team already knows Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez will be a part of the future. The next few weeks will serve as an ideal opportunity for the pair to build up chemistry with the players who figure to be a part of next season's squad. New York has the time to begin figuring that out.
There's intrigue around Chasson Randle, Ron Baker, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and even Marshall Plumlee. Can they potentially handle increased minutes and/or more substantial roles? This is a chance to explore that.
Another interesting player is Justin Holiday. At 27 years old, Holiday has a lot of basketball mileage on him. Nevertheless, he's only just starting to scratch the surface of a potentially successful NBA career. Perhaps his minutes will not increase much. The Knicks should know what they have in him by now, and giving him more of a chance to shine would only increase his value among potential free agent suitors. The team will want to retain his services. He will likely get reps with guys who figure to be on the court with him next season.
As for the veterans, lessening the load will help keep them fresh for the future. The Knicks need to think ahead, because they'll actually have something to fight for again. In Anthony's case, playing things on the safe side is also a smart idea. New York will want to avoid any potential injury that may plague him before exploring trade opportunities for the star this coming summer.