On Saturday at MSG, it was more of the same for the Knicks which was a tough luck loss at home. As they fell to the Phoenix Suns 107-105, you continue to ponder what went wrong for this franchise this season. They are now 19-26 and a season that looked to show so much hope and promise for relevance, now looks lost once again. With that being said, how come the story does not change, the names change, but the ineptitude of the franchise just rolls along with the power of the Acela Express. With all the drama, as a lifelong Knicks fan, they just seem to love to suck the care out of you.
With all of that, Carmelo Anthony still wants to be a Knick. I think we need to finally come to the conclusion that he is not going anywhere. He does not want to be traded right now and good for him. He signed the deal in the summer of 2014, a 5-year $129 million dollar deal and was given a full no trade clause, which means if he does not want to be traded, than he is not going anywhere. After making the decision to stay in New York, Anthony was certainly fired up. “I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the Mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.”
At the time, Phil Jackson was excited to have Carmelo Anthony back as well. “After three months of questions around Carmelo Anthony's return to the New York Knicks, we are now happy to know that we have the cornerstone of what we envision as a 'team of excellence.’ Steve Mills and I have assured Carmelo through our conversations, that we share the vision and the determination to build this team.”
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A lot has changed since July of 2014, when Carmelo Anthony decided to come back to the Knicks, most notably the attitudes of both Jackson and Anthony toward each other. Jackson continues to leak stories and info to columnist Charley Rosen of FanRag Sports when he is upset with Anthony or the direction of the Knicks on the court. It was Rosen who wrote that Anthony had “outlived his usefulness in New York. That prompted the response from Anthony, "if they feel like my time in New York is over. I guess that's a conversation we should have."
This led to a meeting between Jackson and Anthony earlier this past week in which Jackson asked Anthony if he wants to remain with the Knicks and he answered that he does. That should have ended this story line, right? Not so fast. There was another report later in the week that Anthony would reconsider his stance on staying in New York if Jackson came to him and told him that he wanted to trade him.
It just does not end. The drama just does not end with the franchise. This is not a James Dolan issue, amazingly enough because he has stayed out of the way. It is more of a Jackson issue. He can’t stop tripping and falling over his own ego. If it comes down to the style of the game the Knicks are playing or the style of basketball his star player plays. Listen, if he did not like Anthony as a player, than he should never have re-signed him in the summer of 2014. He should have been confident enough to believe that there is life after Carmelo Anthony.
Carmelo Anthony is the same player he has always been, an elite level scorer. He is not LeBron James and he will never be that caliber of player. He does not make guys around him better, but he is also not the biggest issue on this team. The Knicks can win with Anthony if they knew how to put a team together around him. Unfortunately, Jackson has not shown that capability. That is the biggest issue with this team, not the style of play of Carmelo Anthony.
But let’s focus on the future of Carmelo Anthony and not the job done by Phil Jackson. The only mastery that Jackson has shown since being named Knicks President is that of social media and that is a problem.