New York Knicks president Phil Jackson hasn’t spoken to All-star Carmelo Anthony since free agency began this month. Jackson also revealed he is least bothered whether Anthony is upset over the club’s directives. According to Jackson, Anthony is a franchise player in name only.
“Well, you know, we’re a team sport,” Jackson said. “When we’re putting a team together that’s our first priority; how do we make a team that works together? That’s the important aspect. How this all comes together is still a mystery for us. We’ve got five months to kinda get into it here.
“Obviously Carmelo is a guy that is a premier player, we understand that. But it’s a team game. And it has to fit together.”
The Knicks signed Anthony last summer to a five-year, $124 million contract. The clubs usually maintain contacts with high-profile stars during the free agency tenure to discuss trade and signings. Jackson kept Anthony out of the brackets as his team went on to sign free agents like Robin Lopez, Derrick Williams, Arron Afflalo and Kyle O’Quinn.
All-star Anthony, 31, has been skeptical about the Knicks’ slow rebuilding plans. Earlier, Anthony though revealed that he believes in Jackson, and his strong intents to lift the Knicks to a title contender. But after winning franchise-worst 17 games last season the Knicks failed to meet high-profile free-agents LaMarcus Aldridge once or rope in DeAndre Jordan.
Jackson clarified his stance by saying, “I don’t look at basketball that way. I mean, that’s what we’ve done over the years in New York. That’s not what I’m doing. We’re going after solid players that will step into vacuums and play ball, and if we have a system that we play basketball together, that will all work out.”
The Knicks aren’t considered as a destination for top free agents. But Jackson has other ideas.
“We need to win … be a competitive team,” he said. “I think we showed agents and players around the league a serious nature of what we’re trying to get accomplished. People who know basketball will recognize that and we’ll get people who want to come here.”