The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony sat on the magic due to pain on the left knee

New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony will sit out of Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic because of left knee soreness, the team announced.

It’s unclear when the soreness first surfaced, but the Knicks are playing the second game of a back-to-back on Monday, so Anthony’s absence could also be related to a desire to rest and recover.

Anthony, 32, has started 62 of the Knicks’ 63 games this season, averaging 23 points and six rebounds per game.

The club entered play Monday 5½ games behind the Detroit Pistons, who occupy the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The team remains committed to pursuing a playoff spot, despite the long odds.

Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks said he tried to remain optimistic in trade rumors

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony said late Saturday night that the New York Knicks’ struggles and the trade rumors swirling around him have been “testing my will,” though he’s trying to remain optimistic.

“I’m still keeping it [mellow], still keeping it cool, man. It definitely kind of tests you, can put you to the test,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ 111-104 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “You have to dig deep within yourself to get through it on a day-to-day basis, figure out a way how to still go out there and play at a high level every night, play hard, lead this team.

“That’s kind of where you have to dig deep at, despite of everything that’s going on, that’s surrounding — I don’t even want to say us — me. It’s testing me. It’s testing my will. It’s testing me as a human being. It also is making me stronger throughout this process.”

Anthony has been the subject of trade rumors recently, with Knicks president Phil Jackson and the front office looking for potential deals to move the 13-year veteran.

The Cavs rebuffed the Knicks’ attempt late last month to trade Anthony for Kevin Love, sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne.

Stein and Shelburne reported earlier this week that the Knicks continue to pursue Love in advance of the Feb. 23 trade deadline despite the Cavaliers’ unwillingness to part with him. Love said on Friday that he believes he’ll remain with the Cavs “for a long time.”

Sources told Stein and Shelburne the Cavaliers maintain an interest in Anthony — which would pair him with James — but only if a deal can be struck without the Cavs surrendering Love.

The Knicks, who have lost 17 of their past 23 games, also have spoken to the LA Clippers and Boston Celtics about potential deals involving Anthony.

Anthony has a no-trade clause and would need to waive it before any deal can be consummated.

He said earlier this week that he hasn’t thought about waiving his no-trade clause because Knicks management hasn’t discussed any potential deals with him.

Anthony said on Saturday that being around his family and teammates helps him maintain a positive outlook amid all of the trade rumors and losing.

“My son, family, friends. Those are things, people that keep me positive, keep me happy,” he said. “And then when I get to the gym it’s just all about basketball and being around kind of my teammates and seeing the vibe is still there between us, between everybody. Everybody is still positive about what we have going on and what we’re trying to do. So that’s the way I’m dealing with it.”

Anthony averaged 30 points in a recent seven-game stretch from Jan. 19 to Jan. 31 but has struggled in the past two games, missing 30 of 42 shots.

He was booed sporadically by the crowd at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

“I mean, you are what the back page [of local newspapers] says you are. Fans read that. And they react to that,” Anthony said. “I got to get in the gym. I’ve got to get in the gym tomorrow and work on my shot and they won’t boo me.”

Kristaps Porzingis Authentic Jersey

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The New York Knicks’ new starting five haven’t played together in the preseason. So Kristaps Porzingis knows that it will take time for the club to develop cohesion.

“It’s going to take us some time to figure this whole thing out,” Porzingis said on Sunday, two days before the Knicks open their season against the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers. “It doesn’t have to be in a week. It takes time.”

New point guard Derrick Rose was away from the team for more than two weeks this month during a civil trial in Los Angeles. And starting center Joakim Noah missed 10 days earlier this month because of a hamstring injury.

Both players’ absences have seemingly affected the Knicks’ chemistry during the preseason.

“I think we’re definitely a work in progress,” Noah said on Sunday. “We have a lot of work to do. We got to get better. We haven’t had a lot of time to play together. Overall, I felt [Sunday's practice] was a good day. But we definitely have … we have to get better.”

Rose returned to New York on Friday after a jury found he and two friends were found not liable in a civil lawsuit that accused them of gang-raping Rose’s ex-girlfriend. He met with coaches that day to go over elements of the offense that he had missed during his time in Los Angeles and practiced with his teammates Saturday and Sunday.

Porzingis said on Sunday that Rose looked strong during those weekend workouts.

“He’s been learning really fast. He picks up this stuff really quick,” Porzingis said. “I think with a point guard like Derrick, it’ll be easier for me. He will try to make plays for us, and he’ll try to make the game easier for us.”

Porzingis added, though, that the Knicks would need some time with Rose to develop strong timing on offense.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on us that we’re going to be really good right away,” he said. “It’s going to take some time.”

All teams develop cohesion and chemistry over the course of the season, of course. But the injury to Noah and Rose’s absence seem to have affected the Knicks’ development under first-year head coach Jeff Hornacek, particularly on defense. New York ranked 25th among NBA teams in preseason defensive rating.

Noah said on Sunday that the Knicks had “a lot of work to do” on defense when he was asked about the subject after practice.

“We have to get better. Numbers don’t lie, and right now I feel a step slow defensively,” said Noah, who missed three preseason games because of the hamstring injury. “I have to do better. I have to do better for this ballclub. We all do.”