Carmelo Anthony would be totally down with that.
Phil Jackson and the Knicks whiffed on their only candidate to replace Mike Woodson when Kerr agreed to terms with the Warriors. Now the process of finding a replacement for their replacement begins.
According to ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley, Anthony knows where they should start:
Another factor to consider: A source with knowledge of the situation said last month that Carmelo Anthony would embrace the opportunity to play for Mark Jackson. Anthony plans to test free agency in July. Bringing in a coach that he'd like to play for would certainly boost the Knicks' chances of keeping him.
"Embrace" is a fickle word. It's not empty of meaning, but it's not overly strong either. Anthony could embrace playing under Mike D'Antoni again for all we know, so take his purported interest with a shot of skepticism.
Still, any name that doesn't make Anthony cackle uncontrollably where he stands must be considered an option.
The Knicks want to re-sign Anthony. Not only that, they want to re-sign him at a discount. Consider what Jackson said of Anthony's impending free agency in April, per Begley:
I think [there is] a precedent that's been set. Because the way things have been structured now financially for teams is that it's really hard to have one or two top stars or max players, and to put together a team with enough talent, you've got to have people making sacrifices financially.
So we hope that Carmelo is true to his word and we understand what it's going to take, and we will present that to him at that time.
Assuming Jackson has the cahunas to ask Anthony to accept significantly less than the $130(ish) million the Knicks can offer him after they failed to make the playoffs, he must be prepared to cater to some of the All-Star's needs. That includes seeking out his opinion when it comes to free-agency acquisitions—especially next summer when the Knicks have cap space—and it most definitely includes trying to hire a coach he wants to play under.
Indulging the desires of a player who can leave no matter what is always dangerous, but the Knicks don't have much of a choice. Anthony is the only person standing between the cash-strapped, draft pick-less Knicks and another disappointing season.
Compromises must be made if they expect him to forego other, more appealing opportunities in favor of their ability to maybe, quite possibly, if they're lucky, stage a free-agency coup in 2015.
Moreover, Jackson might just be the right man for the job anyway, writes Bleacher Report's Jim Cavan:
To take the kind of pay cut the Knicks are hoping for, Anthony would have to be convinced that New York's game plan—from coach to roster cachet—has at least a reasonable chance of succeeding where it matters most: the banners in the rafters.
As we've seen throughout Anthony's career, giving him a skipper he gets along with is of the utmost importance.
Perhaps Jackson can bond with Anthony the way he did with Golden State's players, who, by and large, always spoke highly of him. You never got the sense Anthony shared some profound, deep-seated connection with coaches George Karl, D'Antoni or Woodson. Jackson could be different.
The monstrous caveat, of course, is the way Jackson's relationship ended with the Warriors. He continuously clashed with the front office, ran four or five bench players at once and developed a reputation as being overly stubborn and disturbingly adverse to pregame preparation.
Even so, in the event that Jackson's arrival or his mere candidacy increases the chances of Anthony remaining in New York, the Zen Master owes it to himself, his superstar and the organization to check him out.
Only if he's sure Jackson is interested, though.
Retaining Anthony won't be easy if he suddenly sees the Knicks searching for a replacement to their replacement (Jackson) of the initial replacement (Kerr).
*Salary-cap information via ShamSports.
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