New York Knicks president Phil Jackson finally met with the media Friday, and he made it clear where he stands on star forward Carmelo Anthony. Asked directly whether he wanted Anthony back next season, Jackson implied the answer is no.
"We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time," Jackson told reporters. "And I think the direction with our team is that he is a player that will be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship. Right now we need players that are really active, can play every single play defensively and offensively. That's really important for us."
Jackson said he talked to Anthony last year and asked if he wanted to come back, and he did the same during the season. Anthony never wanted to go, and the team couldn't find an acceptable trade anyway. After his meeting with Anthony at the end of the season, it sounds like they're finally ready to go separate directions.
"He opted to stay," Jackson said. "And we put together a team that [we] considered building around him. This year at some point in the season there was some information or curiosity about whether he'd be available for trades, and when we brought him in and asked him about that, it became a public thing unfortunately. It wasn't what was intended, but it became public. I compliment him on the fact that he held it together really well for all the drama that went along with that, or whatever was played out behind that. We found nothing available that was rational for us to make at that time.
"So in our talks this time we talked about how we're going to go about doing what we have to do. We will take into account his consideration. I told him we're not gonna, this is not a situation where we're going to dump you or do anything like that, but we're looking to improve ourselves however we can. We have not been able to win, and that's our priority: to win. So that's what we have to do. And our communication, our meeting was not contentious at all. It was cordial. So we'll go forward with that."
Jackson was asked if Anthony agreed to waive his no-trade clause.
"We didn't talk about that," Jackson said. "We just talked about how we can make things the best [they can possibly be] for both of us. A place where he can go to be competitive, to be back in the hunt, and something that would benefit us moving forward as a young, developing team."
This won't do anything for Jackson's leverage in potential trade talks, but hey, it's not like the rest of the league thought everything was hunky-dory in New York. After a 31-51 season, Jackson clearly knows it's time to go a different direction, and if he finds a way to send Anthony somewhere he can compete, it sounds like there's an understanding that Anthony will not get in the way of a deal.