The Phil Jackson era in New York continues to be a bumpy ride and things aren’t slowing down in the slightest. At the close of the 2016-2017 NBA season, Jackson directly remarked that he felt Carmelo Anthony would be better off somewhere else besides New York for his future. While Jackson, quite honestly, might be right about that, the notion that a sitting team president would say such a thing, on the record, about a current player did not sit well with NBPA president Michele Roberts.
With that said, Roberts seems fairly driven toward sending a message to Jackson, but it is apparently one that is either unnoticed or one that has not resonated enough to change the executive’s behavior. While attending the 2017 NBA Draft Combine, Jackson doubled down on his stance with regard to Anthony, indicating that he knew Roberts was “working” to get him fined for his actions and then… saying it all again. Via Al Iannazzone of Newsday
“I think I expressed what I felt. I can’t express it any better,” Jackson said at the NBA Draft Combine. “I thought it was well said even if a lot of you didn’t feel that way. We’d like him to have success; the opportunity is narrowing. We’d just like for him to have success somewhere. We’re not going to be there. Hopefully we’ll maybe be a playoff team next year. It would be tough to consider us possible champions.”
Jackson saying flatly that he “thought it was well said” should be good for a laugh around the league, simply because of the brazen nature of his stance. Again, the notion that Anthony would be better off elsewhere and the Knicks would potentially improve their overall standing without his contract on the books is a reasonable one. Saying it aloud, however, is a pretty blatant misstep, if only because of the uprising he created from the NBPA itself.
This is yet another reminder that Phil Jackson operates on his own terms, for better or worse. Now, we are left to wait for a resolution with knowledge that, with every passing day, it appears less likely that Carmelo Anthony will finish his contract peacefully in New York.