(SportsNetwork.com) - The storied rivalry between the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics has hit hard times, but the two Atlantic Division heavyweights will tip it up Friday night at TD Bank Garden.
The Knicks have been dreadful and trail the six games under .500 Celtics by five already. There have been reports of in-house fighting and disagreements with head coach Derek Fisher over offensive philosophy. There was a players- only meeting over the weekend, but the biggest bombshell had yet to be broken.
The New York Post reported early Friday morning that Carmelo Anthony might be willing to give up his no-trade clause if team president Phil Jackson can find a suitable trade partner.
Anthony is just 24 games into a five-year, $124 million contract. The Post also reported Anthony has a trade kicker in his contract that is worth 15 percent of the deal at the time he's traded.
Also making an Anthony deal unlikely is the fact that he sat out Wednesday night's loss to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs with a lingering knee issue.
Anthony's status is unknown for Friday night.
The Knicks' loss to the Spurs, who sat Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard, was their 10th in a row, which is two off the franchise record.
They are 1-11 on the road this season with the only victory coming on Oct. 30 over the Cleveland Cavaliers in LeBron James' return home.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Anthony's alleged primary combatant on the Knicks, posted 23 points to lead New York in its 109-95 loss. Jason Smith added 14 and Cole Aldrich chipped in 10 for the Knicks, who were also without J.R. Smith, who sat with a heel injury.
"There's just a mutual level of respect as competitors that we've always held for each other," Fisher said of Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. "He means a lot to me personally, in terms of what he stands for and the way he's helped develop what this organization has become."
The Celtics have dropped two straight following a three-game winning streak. They fell to the Washington Wizards in double-overtime on Monday, then lost in Charlotte, 96-87, to the Hornets on Wednesday.
Rajon Rondo recorded his third triple-double of the season with 12 points, 10 boards and 10 assists for the Celtics
Marcus Thornton netted 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter in the loss. Jeff Green also netted 16 points and Tyler Zeller provided 13 and eight rebounds for Boston. Brandon Bass managed 10 in the loss.
"I felt like no matter what we were just holding the ball too long," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Thornton scored the final four points of a 6-0 spurt that pulled the Celtics within 87-85 with 4:32 remaining, but Charlotte ripped off the next nine points to put the game away.
The two teams split last season's four matchups and the Knicks have won three of their last four regular-season tilts in Beantown. Including the playoffs, the Celtics are 102 games over .500 as the host versus the Knicks.