During the sessions, Jackson instructed the Knicks to sit on the edge of their chairs, eyes closed, and count to 10. Breathing in and out, the objective was to clear the mind. They repeated the process several times. Some players were dutiful in the exercise, some indifferent and some downright mocking of its worth, team members said. As Jackson’s relationship with Anthony deteriorated, so did Melo’s commitment to mindfulness training. In the final sessions, witnesses said, it became common for Jackson to tell the players to open their eyes at the end of the exercise, only to find Anthony’s head tilted back, eyes still shut, seemingly snoozing.
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Anthony took the court to the cheers of the crowd without having to worry about cutaway reaction shots of Phil Jackson hovering above him. With hoody in place Anthony stepped from the bench as a visitor at Madison Square Garden, the warmup and hood hiding any sign of emotion from the crowd. “(There) wasn’t a tear,” Anthony said. “I was actually surprised that it happened. I was just getting ready for my name to be called, looking down and everything just stopped and the video came on. It’s a bittersweet feeling for me. Coming back here, knowing the goals that I had, what I wanted to accomplish here and falling short in that category. Also being on the flip side now, being on another team. It was a bittersweet situation for me.”
Frank Isola: Carmelo was grinning as a reporter asked him a question about Phil Jackson. “I put that chapter behind me,” Melo said.
What was your view on Phil Jackson criticizing Carmelo Anthony the way he did? Courtney Lee: These 15 group of guys are your brothers, these are dudes you’re battling with, and you never want to see your brother go through a lot of the stuff that Carmelo had to go through.
“When I signed back with the Knicks, I wanted to be in New York and I believed in Phil,’’ Anthony added in reference to the $125 million contract with the no-trade clause that he agreed to with Jackson in July 2014, a deal that kept him from departing as a free agent.
“Then last year it went to: I was being pushed out. There were things being said about me that I didn’t know where they were coming from. And I still had to go in that gym and play and practice and deal with the media, answer all those questions every day.” Asked how many times he and Jackson spoke face to face last season, Anthony said, “Maybe twice.” “There was no support from the organization,” he said. “When you feel like you’re on your own and then on top of that you feel like you’re being pushed out …”
The delay to find a workable trade, in Anthony’s view, stemmed from the fact that Jackson was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips,” while Scott Perry, who became the Knicks’ new general manager after Jackson’s departure, took a harder line in trade talks with Houston and Cleveland that eventually fizzled. “They went from asking for peanuts to asking for steak,” Anthony said with a laugh.
Jackson is no longer around to try to goad him into demanding a trade, but Anthony swatted away an opportunity to gloat. “I thought it was a business decision,” Anthony said of Jackson’s dismissal. Knicks owner James Dolan has “got to run his organization.”
Ian Begley: Carmelo Anthony on Phil Jackson firing: Says it was a ‘business’ decision & that owner James Dolan has to run his organization.
Either way, with Jackson off to his Montana ranch and general manager Steve Mills in charge for now, the future for Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis as teammates again next season looks a bit brighter. Actually, some Knicks officials believe Anthony’s influence on Porzingis has been detrimental and a key reason why Jackson became adamant about removing him from the roster any way he could. “Phil thought Carmelo was trying to sabotage him,’’ an NBA source said.
Jackson was supposed to recruit free agents, and instead he chased them away. One longtime league official said the other day that while he agreed with Jackson’s desire to trade Anthony to start a true makeover, he couldn’t understand why the Knicks president went out of his way to trash the forward at every turn. “Doesn’t he understand that Carmelo still has a really big voice amongst the players in this league?” the official asked. “No, Carmelo isn’t the same player he once was, but LeBron and Chris Paul and a lot of very important stars really like and respect him. So what do you think those guys are going to say when Phil tries to recruit them to New York?”
It had become clear, sources said, that Jackson had no plans to remain beyond the two years left on the five-year contract he initially signed in 2014. So with no clear path forward from the toxic situation with Anthony, a constant public relations war over Jackson’s preferred triangle offense, and new concerns about the organization’s relationship with Latvian phenom and 2015 No. 4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis, sources said it was clear things had reached a breaking point by the eve of free agency.
Jackson had no plans to work beyond the two years remaining on his contract, and with no clear end to the stalemate with Anthony in sight, discussions with Dolan accelerated late Tuesday night.
Ramona Shelburne: Phil had obviously made it known he thought it was time for the organization to move on from Carmelo, but with no way of doing that, and no plans to lead the organization beyond the remaining two years on his contract, Jackson and Dolan had to decide how to proceed
According to a source, Jackson’s stance is he will not give up Anthony without gaining an asset or two and remains determined to find a trade partner. After all, Anthony, 33, is just a few months older than James.
Anthony, according to the same source, was toying with the idea of orchestrating a move to either Philadelphia or Washington, which would keep him close to New York. However, Anthony’s mindset now is to stay in New York and play for the Knicks… even though Jackson doesn’t want him.
Stefan Bondy: Carmelo Anthony has told the Knicks he’d like to stay, according to Phil Jackson, who seems keen on having that conversation again post FA.
Ian Begley: Phil Jackson reiterates that it may be time for Carmelo to find somewhere else to play. He said Carmelo has talked about staying in NY.
“Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony should have been walking arm in arm to go greet Chris Paul for free agency,” said Adrian Wojnarowski. “There’s an opportunity to get Chris Paul on this market. He may stay in L.A. and part of it might be because there’s nowhere else that makes perfect sense that is worth giving up the money for, but he may go. New York should have been in the Chris Paul conversation.”
Commissioner Adam Silver never considered punishing Phil Jackson for publicly placing Carmelo Anthony on the trading block, despite pleas from union boss Michele Roberts to exercise his disciplining powers on the Knicks president. Why? Jackson had every right to say Anthony was better off playing elsewhere.
“The thing with the league is it’s not reciprocal. Players can’t trade themselves and teams can trade players,” Silver said Thursday in his annual pre-Finals press conference. “There’s never been a history in this league of fining a team or disciplining a team executive for talking about trading a player. And that’s all I can say.”
Steve Popper: Will Perdue joined the NBA on TuneIn’s Two Man Weave radio show with Michael Rapaport & Kenyon Martin and gave his take on Phil and Melo: “I wish I could make heads or tails of it…One thing I can tell you is that he was very good at using the media to help motivate players. I kind of recognize what he’s doing in terms of Carmelo, trying to aggravate him and kind of goad him into playing better, but it just seems like Carmelo wants nothing to do with it.”
Some opposing executives scratch their heads at how Knicks president Phil Jackson appears to be handling Anthony’s situation. “Phil made a statement basically that Carmelo’s a losing type of player. Well, if he’s a loser for the Knicks, he’s going to be a winner someplace else? That obviously didn’t help,” one Eastern Conference executive said.
“Tremendously,” another exec said when asked how much Jackson may have damaged Anthony’s trade value. “He essentially said, ‘I want to dump this guy.’ ”
“Most owners would just roast you if you said something like that,” the Eastern exec said, theorizing the return for Anthony could be “a protected first-round pick. It sure sounds like the Knicks want to get rid of him so teams won’t give up any of their core to add him. That would be defeating the purpose.”
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson remains hopeful that he will be able to find a trade partner for Carmelo Anthony this summer, but admitted Friday that there was still a chance that Anthony might remain a Knick going into next season.
“He has a no-trade contract,” Jackson said, during a break in the action at the NBA Draft combine. “I think I expressed what I felt. I can’t express it any better. I thought it was well-said, even though a lot of you didn’t feel quite that way. But we’d like him to have success, the opportunity is narrowing. We’d just like him to have success somewhere. We’re not going to be there. Hopefully we’ll be maybe a playoff team next year. It would be tough to consider us a possible champion.”
In light of recent news of marriage troubles between Anthony and his wife, Lala, Jackson wanted his team’s star to know that the organization was thinking about him. “Some personal things that came out in the paper, [that news] is difficult,” Jackson said. “I just want him to know we’re supportive of him. It’s a tough time.”
Nick Friedell: Phil on Melo situation: “I think I expressed what I felt. I can’t express it any better.”
The statement, it turns out, only scratched the surface. When Michele Roberts complained in a mid-April release about Phil Jackson’s “inappropriate comments” on Carmelo Anthony, she had much more to say about the Knicks president’s use of his bully pulpit against the franchise’s veteran star. Much more to allege. “I think Phil was deliberately trying to shame ‘Melo out of the city,” she told The Vertical.
“Our players understand that they can privately complain about how a team is managed but they cannot do it publicly without being subject to sanction,” she said. “But it has to work both ways. If Phil tells ‘Melo in private that being in New York is not a good fit for him, that’s his right. But these comments were made in public, and it’s very disturbing because Phil gave him the no-trade clause and he has to respect it. He’s got to allow a player to make a decision for any reason – to win a ring, for money, home life, whatever.”
Anthony is a vice president on the players’ association executive committee, but Roberts said she had not spoken to him about Jackson’s remarks, or anything else. “I feel for ‘Melo, this is a tough time for him and I can only imagine how he’s feeling,” she said. “I know he has been talking to some other people so I’ll let him sort it all out.”
Bryant believes it’s now up to Anthony — long the subject of trade rumors — to decide whether he wants to make things work with Jackson in New York. “Phil’s always gonna speak his mind and speak his opinion,” Bryant told the Daily News during the Tribeca Film Festival. “It all depends on the athlete and what the athlete wants to do with it. If you want to shun it, or do you want to use it as fuel to be better?”
But Bryant says he and Jackson are very close now and credits his longtime coach for helping him see basketball at a higher level. “You can’t enjoy the springtime without having an awful winter,” Bryant said. “You’ve got to go through those things. It’s just a matter of do you want to stay together and work those things out, and be determined to build a championship team? Or do you want to go separate ways.”
Is the Jackson-Anthony feud too far gone for a reconciliation? “Not from what I’ve been through with Phil,’’ Bryant told The Post on Wednesday in an interview to promote the short being shown at the festival through Saturday. “Michael had his rough times with him as well. The history is you get through rough times after you win a good amount of championships. We certainly had our rocky times, but we still stuck to it, we figured out our way through it and came out better because of it. I think the most important thing is sticking to it, being patient. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t.”
Bryant revealed he has lost touch with his buddy, Anthony, whom Jackson publicly stated he wants to trade. “From my experience, from what I had with Phil — again it’s a different situation, he was coaching the team — but you can get through rocky times,’’ Bryant said. “They certainly were there in Chicago and when he was in L.A. But the championships can overshadow that.’’
Bryant hasn’t given up on Jackson as Knicks president. “The responsibilities are different, that’s for sure,’’ Bryant said. “I’m not sure of his relationships with the players, how often. I do know his mind and how he thinks about the game and processes it and sees things in its entirety, the big picture of it. I still trust that judgment.’’
The Latvian magazine also asked Porzingis about the Carmelo Anthony-Jackson collision. According to the translation provided, Porzingis said: “This was a situation media did not hesitate to heat up more than it was in reality. I think there was some mistakes from Phil — things he maybe shouldn’t [have] said or written, things that made the situation worse or made him not look good. But at the same time — it’s that kind of business. I understand.’’
Michael Scotto: LeBron James is the latest NBA superstar to LIKE the Carmelo Anthony Instagram post directed towards Knicks President Phil Jackson.
Al Iannazzone: Phil said knicks want a “significant player” for Carmelo
Lenn Robbins: Phil Jackson on @New York Knicks Our starters never really had a consistency of play..injuries prevented chemistry..The buck stops here
No matter what is said publicly, some in the organization believe the only thing that would keep Anthony on the Knicks in 2017-18 is if owner James Dolan fires team president Phil Jackson, which is now highly unlikely, since the Knicks and Jackson quietly picked up their option on the remaining two years of his contract this spring, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.
There may have been speculation that the standoff between Jackson and Melo would end with Jackson walking away or the Knicks declining their option on his deal, but sources told ESPN the options were picked up “awhile ago.” Knicks owner James Dolan publicly reinforced his commitment to Jackson in a February 10 radio interview on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM when he said, ” he planned to honor his five-year contract with Jackson “all the way to the end.”
The back-and-forth between Anthony, Hornacek and Rambis in March was but one example of the instability that plagued the 2016-17 Knicks. It typified a divide caused by some players’ lack of faith in the defensive game plan under associate head coach Rambis and Hornacek’s use of the triangle offense, according to sources.
Anthony acknowledged that it was “hard to trust” Jackson after the team president’s veiled criticisms earlier in the season. “If somebody was talking bad about you indirectly at your job, what would you do? You would feel a certain way,” he said. “You would want that person to come straightforward with you. And I feel the same way. I’m always open; I’m a very honest person. I know the business and I know the game and I know how it works. So if it’s something that you want to get across, a message that you want to get across, I’ve always been open.”
Anthony will have missed seven of the last 11 games with what the Knicks (30-51) called knee and back issues. He’s also granted fewer interviews with the media. Later this week, Anthony will have his exit meeting with Jackson, Hornacek and general manager Steve Mills. Anthony said “the chips will be on the table.”
“I’m sure a lot of things will be discussed,” Hornacek said. “That’s something I can’t predict what’s going to happen in that meeting, or what we talk about. Obviously we’ll talk about the season, going forward, what’s going to happen. It’ll be about that.”
Armed with a five-year, $124.9 million deal that includes a no-trade clause, Anthony has long maintained that he had no intention of leaving after pushing for a trade to come to New York. But sources on both sides have indicated they believe Anthony will be dealt this summer if Jackson can find a suitable trading partner. But the chaos caused by Jackson may have been where this season went wrong.
The Knicks as they’re built will never win, according to Dennis Rodman. And the man they call “The Worm” said part of the reason is because Carmelo Anthony — and the rest of today’s millennial players — can’t handle team president Phil Jackson.
“People always say, ‘Phil Jackson’s a [expletive deleted]. No, he’s not,’’ Rodman said. “The people’s mind-age now can’t handle the Phil Jacksons, or people like him, that mentally thing, man. Because Phil Jackson lets you be a man first; that’s the first thing he’ll let you do.’’
Dennis Rodman: “And people like Anthony and all you guys, stuff like that, that’s called pressure, man.’ That’s pressure. Especially in New York. They want to win in New York; they will never win in New York. They’ll never win in New York. I’m just saying. Even though he’s a great athlete, great player, he’ll never win in New York. And it’s a great city, though.”
Anthony has taken the high road throughout the season, but the exit interview likely will not be so polite. “Pretty sure the chips will be on the table,” Anthony said. “The chips will be on the table in that meeting. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect but I got a good feeling. Yeah, the chips will be on the table.” Jackson, passing reporters in the hallway after this, declined requests for comment.
Carmelo Anthony wants to sit down and chat with Knicks president Phil Jackson later rather than sooner. “I don’t think right now. Right now we’ve got to sit down and kind of finish these games and go back down to the drawing board after this season. But not right now,” Anthony said about hashing out all things Knicks with team brass. So after the season, “I’m pretty sure we’ll sit down and talk.”
When the trade deadline passed and Anthony changed neither uniform nor zip code, as he suspected all along, it seemed logical to assume the drama was done. “Nah, this is New York. There’s always drama,” Anthony said.
If Tracy McGrady were in Carmelo Anthony’s shoes, the reaction to Phil Jackson’s subliminal shots would be a lot different and a lot more confrontational. That’s according to the recent Hall of Fame nominee, who on Saturday unloaded on the Knicks president for his handling of Anthony.
“Melo’s better than me because all that s–t that’s going on with Melo and Phil, and Phil has the arrogance to sit in the stands, at these games, and I’m playing great basketball — I’d be looking at him every trip down the court or something. Just gazing at him, like, ‘You see the s–t that I’m doing out here like every night? Nah.’” McGrady said. “Some players can play through that, others can’t. Obviously Melo is showing his mental toughness because playing in the Garden is not an easy place to play. Especially for Melo there. And he’s been doing his thing lately.”
Tracy McGrady: “I think it affects (the Knicks) in free agency. Not only in that situation but all the things that have accumulated over this season. Phil Jackson going at Melo publicly. Like, what are you doing? You’re supposed to be on the same team. Like you’re supposed to be encouraging your brother and giving him some of you expertise and helping him become a better player. And it’s just an unfortunate situation. I feel bad for Melo. But he’s handled it so well. Me in that situation? It probably would be a different story.”
Chris Paul, the president of the Players Association, was here for union meetings, and voiced his displeasure for how Charles Oakley was treated by the Knicks and threw his support at Anthony as he deals with trade rumors and how he’s being treated by team president Phil Jackson.
“Melo is like my brother,” Paul said. “Anything affecting him at times it can affect me. I can’t speak for his team or what’s going on there but it’s probably not beneficial when you’re talking about your players in the paper.” The Clippers point guard was referring to Jackson’s tweets and the perception that some critical articles written recently about Anthony were from Jackson or people close to him.
Some in the organization believe that Anthony won’t want to give Jackson the satisfaction of running him out of town. Anthony on Wednesday didn’t sound like a player who was ready to leave. He talked about wanting to recruit free agents to New York when asked about the subject; he also acknowledged that he still holds out hope of one day playing with the Clippers’ Chris Paul and the Bulls’ Dwyane Wade. “A dream,” Anthony called it.
Lee, a lifelong Knicks fans, believes that the Knicks’ treatment of Oakley — coupled with Phil Jackson’s direct and indirect criticisms of star Carmelo Anthony — will hurt their recruitment of free agents. “Who’s gonna come here?” Lee said. Earlier in the week, when asked to pick a side in the Jackson-Anthony feud, Lee told ESPN-Tencent that he’d help Jackson pack his bags.
Carmelo Anthony’s high school coach says he’s “shocked” by some of Phil Jackson’s comments regarding the Knicks star, and adds “enough is enough” when it comes to the treatment of Anthony in New York. “I don’t know if that’s just part of the business but yeah I’m shocked at some of the stuff I’ve heard him say, and some of his Tweets,” legendary Oak Hill Academy (VA) coach Steve Smith said Thursday on The 4 Quarters Podcast. “It’s surprising because I know Melo loves his hometown and playing with the Knicks but it’s just going South right now. It’s going South fast, and I’m sure he’s not happy but he doesn’t come come across [that way]. He’s making himself proud the way he’s handling the whole situation.
Carmelo Anthony has told confidants he may decide to wait out the old Zen Master, according to a source.
Anthony has talked about how important his family is when deciding whether he will stay. The source said his wife, La La, is a big proponent of not moving on, even to the Clippers, despite having a second home in Los Angeles.
Ian Begley: Carmelo Anthony again takes the high road on Phil Jackson’s tweets. He jokes that Phil got the wrong animal when he made a leopard reference
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson’s public campaign to pressure Carmelo Anthony into waiving his no-trade clause is working to harden Anthony’s resolve to remain with the franchise, league sources told The Vertical. “[Jackson’s underestimating ‘Melo’s willingness to stay,” a source familiar with Anthony’s thinking told The Vertical.
UNDISPUTED: “[Phil Jackson] is embarrassing himself because he’s a 71-year old man acting like a child.” — @Chris_Broussard on Phil’s tweet about Melo.
Barkley also criticized New York Knicks president Phil Jackson for his role in the Carmelo Anthony trade fiasco. “He’s trying to piss Carmelo off enough that he accepts a trade. Very simple. Carmelo has a no trade (clause), and he’s trying to make him so mad that he accepts a trade. That’s the only thing it can be. I mean, he gave him a no trade, there’s nothing he can do about it, he wants to start rebuilding and he can’t do it as long as Carmelo’s there.”
Ian Begley: This Phil Jackson tweet references an article that is critical of Carmelo Anthony. It’s more evidence that Phil wants to trade Anthony. – RT: Phil Jackson: Bleacher’s Ding almost rings the bell, but I learned you don’t change the spot on a leopard with Michael Graham in my CBA daze.
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Marc Stein: The Mavericks are signing Yogi Ferrell to a two-year deal worth in excess of $5 million, according to league sources
Jared Weiss: Marcus Smart’s deal is fully guaranteed for all four years with no options and will follow the standard 8% raise structure starting at around $11.6 million, a league source tells The Athletic.
Michael Grange: Raptors connected with Leonard and agent etc. multiple times and separately on Wednesday, according to league sources. All conversations positive, forward-looking.
Mark Murphy: Kenny Boren, Smart’s high school coach, on relief from new deal: “You have no idea. It’s been a tough summer with free agency and his mom’s (cancer), It’s been tough emotionally for him.”
James Edwards III: #Pistons have announced that they’ve added Tim Grgurich and Micah Nori (previously with Denver) to Dwane Casey’s staff. Grgurich and Casey go back to their Seattle days, which I talked about in this profile: theathletic.com/424727/2018/07…