Phil Jackson opened up about his time as New York Knicks president Thursday and his falling out with Carmelo Anthony while the superstar was there.
Jackson was only with the Knicks for three years (2014-2017) and signed Anthony to one of the richest contracts in franchise history instead of letting him walk to the Los Angeles Lakers or Chicago Bulls. He said on “The Curious Leader” podcast hosted by former NBA player Coby Karl his eventual feud with Anthony was the reason why team owner James Dolan let him go.
“[The media] was decidedly against the organization, and they were looking for whatever they can do to throw aspersions,” Jackson said. “I kind of understand Trump had to live with probably for his first 3.5 years in office with the media.”
He said Anthony wasn’t the leader he thought the Knicks needed and called Anthony “intimidating” for the revolving door of coaches he hired.
“Carmelo, I think, wanted to be a leader, but I don’t think he completely knew how to be a leader as a player,” he said. “And I think that the strength of his personality was intimidating to some of the coaches that were asked to coach the team. And so there wasn’t this compliance that has to go between players and coaches.”
He added: “I wanted to trade Carmelo and … he’s got a no-trade clause that they asked for, but I suggested that if there was a situation — and I asked them to trade, I wanted them to be compliant with it. And you can have all your choices that you want but I want you to go along with the idea that maybe when your time has come with being with the Knicks. So that was met without compliance.”
New York didn’t make the playoffs under Jackson and hasn’t since the 2012-13 season. New York went through coaches Derek Fisher, Jeff Hornacek and Kurt Rambis while he was there.
Jackson said the best move could have been to just coach the team himself but he wasn’t “physically able to do that.”