Well, either that or 'Melo simply agrees with a pair of Jackson's points of view. The new man in charge of the Knicks had positive things to say about 'Melo's future role, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
Phil on Melo: "I have no problem committing in saying Carmelo is in the future plans."— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) March 18, 2014
And he also laid down a challenge/commendation for Anthony, per Ken Berger of CBS:
Phil endorses Carmelo Anthony as part of the plan. "There's another level he can get to."— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) March 18, 2014
Per Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com, Anthony had this to say when informed of Jackson's comments:
I love it. I don’t think that was anything bad that he said. As an individual over the years, I think I’ve gotten better as a player, playing at a very high level as an individual. Like right now. For him to come in and say that, we’re on the same page. There’s a whole other level that I haven’t taken this to. I feel each season I’ve gotten better so just as Phil can teach, I can rely on him, talk to him, use him as a mentor to try and get to that next level.
And just like that, Jackson has already fixed everything that was wrong with the Knicks.
OK, not exactly. But it's extremely encouraging for New York supporters to hear Anthony sounding so motivated—and agreeable. Whether the apparent accord between the Knicks' new leader and their best player will be enough to prevent 'Melo from skipping town as a free agent remains to be seen.
Jackson's persuasive powers are strong, but they might not be potent enough to convince Anthony the Knicks present the best combination of money and success. The Zen Master can only bend reality so far.
Looking further ahead, it's also worth wondering if Anthony will always be so accommodating when it comes to Jackson's ideas. It's one thing to buy into Jackson's praise, but it's quite another to learn an entirely new offensive approach, as Barbara Barker of Newsday points out:
"There has been a lot of conjecture about whether Anthony, who is pretty much used to doing what he wants offensively, will be able to play in the structured triangle offense that Jackson likely will bring to the Knicks," she said.
The bigger issues will sort themselves out eventually, but it's a great sign that, at this early juncture, Anthony seems to be on board with Jackson's plans.