Carmelo Anthony has changed his tune, and he's now singing the praises of Phil Jackson, who was recently hired by the New York Knicks in an attempt to turn the franchise around, per Ramona Shelburne and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.
When Melo first caught word of Jackson potentially joining the Knicks, he was rather indifferent, as relayed by the New York Daily News' Peter Botte:
I don’t think it’ll have any effect on me, just as far as what I’m thinking or my decision or anything like that. Like I said, I haven’t talked to Phil yet, just to get his insight on a lot of things, what’s his plan, what’s his future plan. Because everything’s in his hands now.
So much for that.
Maybe Anthony has heard some details about Phil's plan, or maybe he's just in a great mood after a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks gave New York a six-game winning streak and closed the gap between the Knicks and Atlanta Hawks to only 3.5 games. Regardless, he's saying positive things now:
Melo, on the Phil Jackson hiring: "I'm a chess player, and that was a power move."— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) March 15, 2014
Melo: "Phil knows how to build teams. And he knows how to win, that's the most important thing."— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) March 15, 2014
"Power move" is a great way to describe it.
I broke down the impact Jackson would have on Anthony's future here, but the one-sentence summary is pretty simple. He restores offseason credibility to the struggling franchise, and his triangle offense could have positive effects for multiple reasons.
Anthony is a basketball player, so he clearly understands that aspect of the hiring. And seeing as he's a self-proclaimed chess aficionado, we shouldn't doubt his metaphor skills either.
Power move or not, it's worth noting that Jackson is not a guarantee of future success. Nor is his presence in the front office akin to an assurance that 'Melo will keep playing home games in Madison Square Garden past the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign.
"A coaching guru, he's now tasked with putting out the worst tire fire in the league from a front office seat he's never held before," writes B/R's Zach Buckley. "As he's extinguishing those flames, he'll also need to build something with a championship ceiling—without draft help, financial flexibility or, possibly, Anthony himself."
Even the best chess move doesn't guarantee a checkmate if it's not paired with the right surrounding pieces.