“We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time. I think the direction with our team is that he’s a player who would be better off somewhere else, using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship.”
That was Phil Jackson speaking about forward Carmelo Anthony, just one day after it was revealed that both Jackson and the New York Knicks had exercised the mutual option for the two years remaining on Jackson’s contract as team president.
The audacity with which Jackson continues to speak in public about his star player is, for many, shocking. But what he is doing, wise or not, is clearly strategic in nature. He wants to move on from Anthony. But he is also aware that Anthony holds the balance of power in that regard.
Anthony has a sizable contract – it will pay him $26.2 million next season, and $27.9 million in 2018-19. He has a 15% trade kicker. And, most importantly, he has a no-trade clause. If he wants to remain a Knick, he will. And there’s little Jackson can do to stop it. Other than make his stay in New York so unpleasant as to cause him to want to leave.
Anthony, 32, is a seasoned NBA veteran. He is well aware of what Jackson has been saying, and why. He is not about to allow it to influence him to make a hasty decision.
But Anthony has reportedly conceded that he would consider waiving his no-trade clause under the right circumstances. Which, in turn, could leave Jackson with an unknown list of potential trade partners, an unknown list of demands from those suitors, and with some technical difficulties that would still need to be overcome if there is to be an interest. Read more…