Charley Rosen is a former assistant coach and long-time sports columnist known mostly for his relationship with Phil Jackson. When he wrote a column on FanRag Sports that tore down Carmelo Anthony's game and attitude, and explored the reasons why a divorce from the Knicks was probably best for both sides, most people assumed this was the product of conversations with Jackson. Whether Jackson intentionally leaked information and perspective on Anthony's trade situation or not, Rosen is closely tied with Jackson, and it was hard to believe Rosen reached his conclusions from any other source.
In a new column on FanRag Sports, Rosen defended his independence, saying the column was not the product of any conversation with Jackson, but instead just his own beliefs and thoughts on the game:
It should also be noted that through the years, Phil and I have not always agreed on personnel and specific game plans.
So, although I have often been called Phil's mouthpiece by fans and some in the media, I have never consulted him about the content or general themes of any of the thousands of columns I've written for various sports web sites.
The only obvious exceptions being the interviews I conducted with him. Although some of my opinions may be congruent with Phil's, they are strictly my own. For better or for worse.
Couple of things here:
1. Rosen wasn't wrong. Rosen said Anthony's legs were going which was affecting his game, and while Anthony's numbers remain about the same, he does appear to be losing lift and mobility. Rosen described Anthony's lack of interest in defense, and he's 100 percent right on that as well. Anthony has the second-worst defensive rating on the Knicks while on-court. He's a sieve, and that's the Knicks' biggest problem. He's a ball-stopper, always has been. Rosen wasn't incorrect in his assertions.
2. It's still hard to believe Jackson didn't at least agree with these beliefs. Even if Rosen didn't call Jackson and say "Hey, I'm writing about the team, and Melo, what should I say about him?," the two have maintained contact and Rosen knows what Jackson thinks and feels about Anthony. There has been tension between the two for some time, and this situation definitely read like at best Rosen revealing what the common consensus in Jackson's circle is about Anthony and at worst a direct leak. That's certainly how Anthony took it.
3. Anthony taking it that way matters. Anthony was told several times the comments were from Rosen, but Anthony referred to it as "that side." Anthony knows how the game is played. Let's say Rosen didn't speak with Jackson, and that his opinion doesn't reflect Jackson's views. Anthony still feels that's the situation. That, in and of itself, says a lot about the situation.
4. This reads as damage control. Rosen comes off as insulted by the insinuation he's in Jackson's pocket, but the way it more reads is trying to get the heat off Jackson for the comments. Since that column was published, Anthony made his comments about saying if his time in New York is over it was time for him and Jackson to talk, and then Anthony had to make multiple requests just to get a meeting with Jackson, which they held on Tuesday. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that the meeting was far more contentious than previous sit downs between the two.
5. This isn't over. The drama in New York has been high, even for the Knicks, and while the most likely outcome remains an unhappy forced marriage as Anthony refuses to waive his no-trade clause and Jackson refuses to step down, the situation continues to fester. We're not done here.