Carmelo Anthony Says Phil Jackson Won't Have Impact on Free-Agency Decision

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2014

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Update, March 12, 11:15 p.m. ET:

Original Text:

Phil Jackson is reportedly aboard the New York Knicks' sinking ship. As for Carmelo Anthony, well, he's still unsure.

A league source to the New York Post's Marc Berman that Jackson gave the Knicks a verbal commitment over the weekend, agreeing to a front-office position that will have "president" somewhere in the title. 

Reacting to the news, Anthony seemed intent on keeping things in perspective, refusing to suggest what impact, if any, Jackson would have on his free-agency plans.

"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," Anthony said, via the New York Daily News' Peter Botte. "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."

At least Anthony knows whose hands "everything" is in now. According to Berman, he was previously unaware of the unfolding situation.

Now that he (hopefully) understands what the Knicks are doing, Anthony can begin to take in what's happening.

Jackson amassed 13 championship rings throughout his playing and coaching days, and it's those shimmering pieces of hardware the Zen Master will likely point to when attempting to sell Anthony on New York's future. And you better believe he will try to retain Anthony, even though comments Jackson made back in 2012 would seem to imply otherwise.

"Carmelo has to be a better passer," he said in an interview for HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, via ESPN New York's Mike Mazzeo. "And the ball can't stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kinda blend that group together."

The 68-year-old Jackson has apparently tabled his past qualms or at least understands how important Anthony is to the Knicks, because he wanted assurances the superstar wouldn't leave before taking this position.

"He wants a management position and the power to make deals, a la Red Auerbach and Pat Riley," one source told The Knicks Blog's Adam Zagoria. "If that’s not promised, he ain’t coming. They’ll have to promise him Melo will stay, too. And I don’t think they know if he is or not."

Guaranteeing Anthony's return is something the Knicks cannot do. This isn't to say they haven't tried or actually done just that, but Anthony has been non-committal about what his future holds. 

Any assurances Jackson has received about his return have likely come from everyone except Anthony himself.

Jackson's first order of business: Keeping Anthony.
Jackson's first order of business: Keeping Anthony.Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Fortunately for the Knicks and Jackson, Anthony doesn't appear completely turned off by the Zen Master's addition.

Taking the diplomatic route, 'Melo praised Jackson's resume, offering something similar to a vote of confidence.

"You can always use Phil Jackson inside an organization, his philosophy, his mindset, his resume, what he brings to a team, what he brings to an organization," he said, per Botte. 

Can Jackson also be used to convince Anthony his future lies in New York, with the desperate, perpetually reaching Knicks?

Jackson himself better hope so, otherwise the toughest job in the NBA—successfully salvaging these Knicks—becomes even more difficult and overwhelming than it already is.


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