After New York Knicks president Phil Jackson appeared on CBS Sports Network's We Need to Talk on Tuesday and said that Carmelo Anthony tends to hold the ball for too long, the star forward initially didn't want to respond. Then he posted a couple of cryptic Instagram photos. On Friday, he addressed the "cloud over the team," criticizing Jackson his needless negativity, via the New York Post's Marc Berman:
"I think I said my part of it,'' Anthony said Friday, regarding his Instagram response to Jackson's recent remarks that Anthony holds onto the ball too long, slowing down the triangle offense. "I'm a big quote guy. Got a million quotes on my phone. Sometimes they come up at the right time.
"I just want to continue to do what we're doing - playing ball. We're playing good basketball now. To have a temporary black cloud ...''
Anthony, who had hit two game-winning last-second shots in the past two weeks to break out of a three-year funk in the clutch, said he "embraces'' the slings and arrows aimed his way from fans and media, but was surprised it would come from management.
"I know it happens - it's New York and something I know,'' Anthony said. "It's not something I expect [from the team]. I didn't talk to him. I didn't know where he was coming from. He wants to talk about it, cool. If he doesn't, cool. In my eyes, it's over to me.''
"At the end of the day, we're playing good basketball. That's the only thing that really matters at this point,'' Anthony said. "Any negativity coming to us toward the team, I don't think we need it at this point, especially when we're trying to make a run on this five-game road trip and have chance to do something special."
A few thoughts on this increasingly troubling situation:
- These two really need to talk. Anthony said that he always welcomes the conversation whenever Jackson wants to discuss something with him, and he doesn't know what's going on right now. Honestly, this situation doesn't seem that difficult to fix -- Jackson has said the same thing about Anthony many times before; this was just bad timing. He should just explain that he also said positive things about Anthony, and he was a bit too honest when it comes to the areas where he wants to see Anthony improve.
- Anthony deserves some credit for standing up for himself and the locker room. The Knicks are always going to attract more attention than a normal team, so the last thing they need is extra drama from inside the organization. Anthony could have easily just stuck to his line about being focused on basketball, but he let it be known that this whole thing has been an unwelcome distraction.
- The funny thing is that, since Jackson came aboard, New York has arguably never been in a better place. Before the 126-94 blowout against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, the Knicks were on a four-game winning streak. They're sixth in the East, and while it's not clear that their over-.500 record is sustainable, there was no real reason to criticize them. Now there is -- no organization wants this sort of friction between the team president and the franchise player.