Phil Jackson has finally publicly admitted what we’ve all suspected for months, if not years: he wants the New York Knicks to get rid of Carmelo Anthony. This is one of the least-shocking developments of the NBA season, but Jackson clearly has no reason to play things cagey anymore. On Friday he opened up when addressing reporters.
Here’s the money quote:
“We’ve not been able to win with (Anthony) on the court at this time. And 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.”
The Knicks just finished 31-51, their fourth losing season in a row and Anthony’s terrible contract isn’t going to help them rebuild. This team should belong to Kristaps Porzingis, not a declining 32-year-old who demands the ball.
Anthony is a 10-time All-Star and has a no-trade clause, so he would have to approve a move somewhere. He’s due to make $26.2 million next season and $27.9 million for the 2018-19 campaign. He has an early-termination option for 2018 but no one believes he’s going to pass on that much money just to chase a title.
Jackson is correct that the Knicks haven’t been able to compete as currently constructed. But they haven’t been competitive with the Zen Master running things either. This is the same guy who signed Joakim Noah to a four-year, $72 million deal last offseason and thought trading for Derrick Rose was just the move to put the team in contention. So Phil, you might want to step out of that glass house before you pick up those rocks.
Anthony and the Knicks do need to part ways, but I’m not sure there’s a market out there for him. Sure he scored 22.4 points per game this year, but he shot just 43.3 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from 3-point range. His PER was a woeful 17.96, which was down from 20.38 in 2016 and has been on the decline for years now.
It will be incredibly difficult for New York to move Melo, but you feel like at this point it has to happen. Anthony and Jackson just can’t continue to coexist in the same franchise.