New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson wants to part ways with Carmelo Anthony for his own good. Kristaps Porzingis isn't happy, and he likely left head coach Jeff Hornacek's texts on read, per Newsday reporter Al Iannazzone.
"Hornacek said he recently sent Porzingis a text. When he was asked whether Porzingis texted him back, Hornacek just smiled and did not respond," Iannazzone said.
Back to Jackson. All of the sudden, he wants to do what's best for Anthony over the team. There's no doubt the Knicks have a better lineup with the 10-time All-Star in uniform, but the Knicks executive insists new scenery would be best for the 32-year-old's professional career, per ESPN.com reporters Nick Friedell and Ian Begley.
"The opportunity is narrowing. We'd just like him to have success somewhere," Jackson said. "We're not going to be there. Hopefully, we'll be maybe a playoff team next year. It would be tough to consider us a possible champion."
Anthony has a no-trade clause, and he'll likely mull over his decision during the summer. Going into the third year of his rookie deal, Porzingis will stay in New York unless he threatens to sit out games, which isn't the case.
What do executives and those standing behind the two Knicks stars think about the turmoil in New York?
NBA Executive Feels Phil Jackson Damaged Carmelo Anthony's Trade Value
Typically, when you want to sell a depreciating asset, it's best to avoid revealing the negatives on your end of the exchange. Jackson took the opposite approach over the previous season. He offered a backhanded compliment when highlighting Anthony improved his ability to share the ball in the triangle offense, per Begley.
Now, Jackson clearly states the team needs to move on without the prolific scorer, who averaged 22.4 points per game in 74 appearances during the 2016-17 season. In Friedell and Begley's report, the Knicks executive doubled-down on his intentions to help Anthony find success elsewhere and move the team in another direction.
However, one team executive in the Eastern Conference sees Jackson's comments as a detriment to Anthony and the team, per New York Post reporter Fred Kerber:
"Phil made a statement basically that Carmelo's a losing type of player. Well, if 'a loser for the Knicks, he's going to be a winner someplace else? That obviously didn't help," the NBA personnel executive said.
The unnamed decision-maker used the term damaged to described Anthony's trade value. Everyone in the league knows Jackson isn't happy with his star player's fit within the team's future plans. Why offer quality pieces to bail out an already broken situation that's likely gone beyond repair?
Jackson's criticisms have stripped Anthony of quality value on the trade block. The Knicks will have to settle for role players or late first-round picks in exchange for a complete scorer who can close basketball games with clutch shooting ability.
Kristaps Porzingis is Unhappy But Wants to Stay
Porzingis didn't have much to say to Hornacek or Jackson after the team finished 31-51 in a disappointing campaign marred by injuries and dysfunction. Like any proud player, he'd like to blossom in an ideal situation that's stable. The Knicks have been shaky at best since selecting Porzingis No. 4 overall in the 2015 draft.
According to sources connected to the New York Post and Porzingis' brother, who spoke about the situation in an ESPN interview, (h/t Marc Berman), the Latvian standout enjoys playing for the city on his jersey, but things have to change in the near future.
"Kris wants to stay in New York; he feels at home there. There is no question about it. The only thing he wants is for the Knicks to create an environment where he can develop and grow as a player and win," Janis Porzingis said.
Teams already enquired about Porzingis' availability with potential trade offers, per Begley. The countdown clock until he leaves New York City has already started to tick loud enough for the league to hear. Jackson needs NBA draft lottery luck and another quality prospect to save this franchise from hitting a new low in the next year or two.
Fortunately for the Knicks, the upcoming draft features a deep class. Jackson can acquire help at any position, but the team must reassess its commitment to the triangle offense, which contributed to the poor play on the court, per Begley.
"Jackson may eventually be able to find players who excel in—and appreciate—the triangle. But the majority of current Knicks aren't comfortable in—and don't care for—the offense, according to sources," the ESPN.com reporter said.
At this point, most Knicks fans would probably prefer to see Jackson hit the road more so than Anthony. The triangle offense has slowly eroded his championship legacy in the Big Apple.