On Thursday we mentioned that Phil Jackson, the Knicks’ President of Basketball Operations, was “scheduled to meet with Carmelo Anthony, coach Jeff Hornacek and other staff to discuss the teams direction moving forward”. Well, those meetings are now over and the results did not seem positive for the Knicks.
In the summer of 2014, Carmelo Anthony signed a five-year, $124 million deal with the Knicks; three seasons later, it appears that the team is ready to move on. Following his meeting with the All Star forward, Phil Jackson told reporters [via ESPN
“We’ve not been able to win with [Anthony] on the court at this time. I think the direction with our team is that he’s a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship.Right now we need players that are really active, can play every single play – defensively and offensively. That’s really important for us. We’ve started to get some players on the floor that can do that and that’s the direction we have to go.”
In December, Jackson told CBS Sports
that “[Melo] can play that role that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant played. That’s a perfect spot for him, to be in that isolated position on the weak side… [But] Carmelo, a lot of times, wants to hold the ball… We have a rule, if you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense. So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold the ball for three, four, five seconds, then everybody comes to a stop.”
Jackson was asked about that quote following his recent meeting and he doubled down on his position:
“Holding the ball is not a criticism. That’s what he does. That’s pure fact. A person better be able to take that if they’re going to be coached or else you can’t be part of this organization.”
Carmelo has also confirmed that the team may trade him; of course, Anthony would have to sign off on any potential deal since his contract contains a no trade clause. Melo also told ESPN.com’s Ian Begley
that he finds it “hard to trust” Phil Jackson.
If the Knicks have to choose between Anthony and Jackson, they appear to be leaning towards Jackson. The owner James Dolan recently extended Phil Jackson contract for two more year and the former coach says he plans to take a more hands-on approach next season.
Of course, finding a team willing to take on the $26.2 million salary that Melo’s owed next year could be challenging. Although Anthony has his flaws, he would still be a valuable asset for a lot of teams. While he hasn’t had much success with the Knicks, Anthony excelled during the Olympics
, helping lead Team USA to the gold in 2008, 2012 and 2016. So far, the Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat have all been mentioned
as possible landing spots for the future Hall of Famer.
As if the Melo situation wasn’t bad enough already, it appears the team is also having issues with rising star Kristaps Porzingis. Begley
also reported that Porzingis had skipped the exit meetings “due to frustration over dysfunction [and] drama”.
, Kristaps complained that the team “don’t really know the triangle that well… So a lot of times, it’s basically one-on-one. Whoever it is. Me, Carmelo, Derrick, Courtney … we just try to make something happen. And that’s not how it’s supposed to be.”