Carmelo Anthony didn't exactly disparage Phil Jackson on Tuesday for his recent comments about LeBron James, but the New York Knicks star certainly didn't defend him, either. Anthony told reporters it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why calling James' associates a "posse" is offensive, and he's not sure why Jackson is talking about James at all.

From the New York Daily News:

"There's different words that different people use in different ways. To some people, the word 'posse' might not mean anything. It might just be a word. To some other people, it could be a derogatory statement. It all depends on who you mention it to, who you're talking about," Anthony said. "In this sense, he was talking about five black men. And do I think he meant it in any kind of way? I really don't know. I don't think he did. I would hope that he didn't. Sometimes Phil just say things, and he say the first thing that come to mind. And he's probably in his office right now regretting it.

"When it comes to Phil, you just never know what's going to be said, what's coming out. It depends on who's listening. People take it the right way or people take it the wrong way. You just never know when it comes to Phil. I just don't understand him talking about LeBron right now in November. I don't understand that."


"I would never want to hear that word about people I consider family and people that I've come up with and been through thick and thin with," Anthony said. "I would want to be called a tight-knit group or a family, because that's what I consider those people."


For Anthony, it's not hard to grasp that posse is offensive to some individuals.

"I think anybody would understand that. Anybody," he said. "I don't think you have to be a rocket scientist or an educated person to understand what that means to us."

Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James at MSG
Carmelo Anthony is in an awkward position because of Phil Jackson's comments about LeBron James. USATSI

Jackson's comments put Anthony in an awkward position. Since the Knicks president rarely speaks to the media and did not take questions at practice on Tuesday, Anthony had to essentially be the team's spokesperson on this issue. How would you like to be caught in the middle of a public war of words between your boss and one of your best friends?

Given how Anthony has positioned himself recently as a fighter against racial injustice, there was no way he could excuse coded language like this. Nor should he have to. Since it's Jackson, though, Anthony would have created a huge controversy if he had outright condemned it. That's how we ended up with this sort of rambling quote where he says he doesn't think Jackson meant to say anything offensive, but everybody should understand why it was offensive.

For Anthony, the most frustrating part of this appears to be just how unnecessary it all is. He told reporters that he didn't understand why Jackson even mentioned James, given that the Knicks don't play the Cleveland Cavaliers until December. This whole thing started because, while talking about Miami Heat president Phil Jackson losing his star players in an interview with ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, Jackson tried to illustrate that James needs "special treatment." Even if he hadn't said the word "posse," it was an odd subject for someone who has no relationship with James.