Mar 19, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks new president Phil Jackson sits in the stands during the first quarter of a game against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks: Phil Jackson Lost Carmelo Anthony

It’s been 126 days since Phil Jackson was appointed as New York Knicks team president.

Had he never been the talented former NBA player and legendary coach we’ve celebrated for decades, we might’ve never heard of Phil Jackson. He might’ve been another freakishly tall, white-haired old guy greeting customers at Wal-Mart.

Such a tenure would’ve meant that his 90-day probationary period would be in the books by now, and Jackson would be enjoying the benefits of a full employee.

As such, it’s only right that James Dolan give Jackson a 90-day review. Perhaps that hasn’t happened as usually an employee’s superiors are more knowledgeable about the industry of which they serve. Dolan himself admitted he doesn’t know much about basketball – and the Knicks record of 381-505 in the last decade confirms his sentiment.

With almost two extra months, most believe that Jackson has failed to do what most NBA executives would be judged by within a 90-day probationary period.

For the loss of Carmelo Anthony to free agency, Jackson would’ve been asked to stay home without pay. He’d eventually receive that awkward phone call from an overly calm human resources representative asking him to attend a “meeting” to discuss his “performance.”

Jackson would be looking for a new job by the end of that meeting.

There’s nothing official other than Anthony electing to opt out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks that would’ve paid him $23.3 million. He hasn’t publicly said that he’s ruled out a return to New York; however, all signs are pointing to Melo in a different uniform next season.

On July 1 he will become a free agent and eventually sign with a team that’s not the Knicks, with all signs pointing to the Chicago Bulls. His agent, Leon Rose, said in a statement on Anthony’s behalf:  “Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city, and he loves the fans. At this stage of his career, he just wants to explore his options.”

As options seem to truly be top priority for Melo, this summer will be a crash course in free agent etiquette as Anthony has never been immersed in the full free agency process. He signed an extension of his rookie contract in 2006, followed by another extension upon his departure from the Denver Nuggets as a condition of his trade to the Knicks.

When you’re dealing with an at the time soon to be free agent, it seems that options would be the name of the game. It’s what separates the teams who lose and win in free agency.

That’s precisely what the Knicks didn’t give Anthony — options.

When Carmelo told the Knicks that he would indeed opt out of his contract, it was during a meeting in Los Angeles with Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and ex-player turned first-year head coach Derek Fisher. A not-so-impressive audience to say the least.

Certainly Phil Jackson carries a circus-size load of prestige that comes with winning 13 NBA championships, however he’s an unproven rookie in his new role as Knicks team president.

Larry Brown said Steve Mills “has no clue” and Derek Fisher looks like a deer in the headlights with puppet string hanging from his jersey converted blazer/dress shirt combination. It’s almost as weird as the Addams Family with the same hint of comedic creepiness.

Who can blame Anthony for not wanting to reside in that nightmare?

The Knicks tallied up a horrid 37-45 record last season. it was the first time Melo missed the postseason in his 11-year professional career.

Jackson and the Knicks brass were unable to convince him it would be his last. With very limited means of unraveling the roster this summer, in addition to an unproven president, unfavored general manager and underage head coach, Carmelo’s best bet was to undo his situation and take his uncanny ability to score the ball elsewhere.

Then Phil Jackson suggested Anthony take less money. Anthony can sign a maximum contract worth $129 million over five years with the Knicks, and he’s more than entitled to it. Although the implications are different, Jackson did not take less money, or power to accept the Knicks job, and Derek Fisher’s five-year, $25-million is more than he’s collected in his playing career.

It also makes him one of the five highest-paid coaches in the NBA.

The Knicks also hired a former player that pales in comparison to Anthony’s talent level. When the Brooklyn Nets hired Jason Kidd, they employed a former Rookie of the Year and nine-time All Star with two Olympic gold medals.

There were times when Kidd would stare at Nets guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson as if to say “I’d hit that shot,” and nine times out of 10, he probably could.

Fisher not so much. He’s never played at an All-Star level although he’s been a great competitor, team player and positive locker room influence. Certainly the five championships won with Jackson and the Los Angeles Lakers don’t hurt either, but it doesn’t garner the same amount of respect from a superstar like Anthony.

So as it ends up, Anthony can sign a maximum deal worth $96 million spread over four years with any other team. As of now this seems like the more plausible situation, instead of a return to New York.

One month beyond Jackson’s 90-day probationary period and he might’ve allowed the franchise’s prized possession to walk right out the door. Not the best way to start a new gig.


Tags: Carmelo Anthony Derek Fisher New York Knicks Phil Jackson

  • Drafted Clyde & Dollar Bill

    Marcus Bass must just have dropped here from out of space. Melo stated at the beginning of the year that he was going to opt out at the end of the year. Something I personally think he should have kept his mouth closed about publicly as (Leader) of the Knicks. How do you state Phil Jackson lost Anthony when he stated he was opting out before Dolan ever spoke to Jackson about running the team??? The statements Phil made about hoping Anthony would be true to his word are real and if Anthony got a burr up his behind about that tough. He made the statement that he would willing to take less to stay in NYC. Phil suggesting that Melo opt in was wise a good move for him and the team if he would have done it. It would have allowed the Knicks to sign another star or two and still resign Anthony for whatever they could agree to. Hopefully Anthony simply wants to have teh market set his worth instead of having to negotiate with the Knicks not knowing how the league values him. It will be easier to attract talent with Anthony wearing a Knicks Jersey, than not. I get so tired of hearing these clueless writers spewing nonsense about organized sports most of them haven’t played. This is a major reason why many professional athletes don’t want to play in NYC, because of all the blow hard writers and the – - – - they write everyday.

    • Marcus Bass

      Regardless as to when he said he’s opting out – it’s still a loss if your superstar walks under any condition period, and regardless of when Phil Jackson started the job, this has still happened under his watch. He’s had enough time to reign Melo back in and get a greater shot at keeping him. Melo endorsed Mark Jackson, Phil didn’t even interview him. There have been numerous stars who’ve stated they’d leave a team, only to end up staying – Melo’s situation could’ve been similar. Set his worth??? The writing is on the wall, he’s gone! Why do you think he’s calling players who’ve been on teams with Thibodeu? Enjoy watching him in a different uni next season. Oh and you’re more than welcome to fly to Las Vegas and set up a place to challenge me in this organized sport that I’ve played more than half of my life. Thanks for reading!!!

    • Marcus Bass

      Oh and by the way… His worth to the Knicks is $129 million over five years. Just in case you’re not sure how maximum contracts work in this “organized sport that you’ve played and know so much about”.

  • Drafted Clyde & Dollar Bill

    If the Knicks have to pay him 129 Million to keep him they’re better off letting him go. Good Bye, that’s the problem with the team now in case you haven’t figured it out they have over payed for just about everyone on the team Melo included. Easy for you to say you’d like to challenge me to play because you know it will never happen. How about I have my youngest son who is 36 look you up and share with you the lessons I gave him when he was a child. Like you’re a baller and know so much!

    • Marcus Bass

      Lol you challenged my game not your son. We can play a game of H.O.R.S.E. instead. That might be a bit easier on my repaired patella tendon and older previously broken ankles. I don’t think Melo is worth that amount either. He’s failed to get it done in Denver and now NY. However a player’s contract is not only about their skill and value to that individual team. Many times it’s market value as well. But Melo’s case is interesting because he’ll score 35 and his team loses. Different from a Kevin Durant who will score 35 and the Thunder win.

  • Drafted Clyde & Dollar Bill

    If It were not for my torn ACL and two bone chips in my knee that was repaired way before arthroscopic surgery, I would break your ankles again and believe me I am trying to help you understand that’s what my son would do for you now. You sound like a disgruntled Laker fan that’s a little miffed at Jackson for coming back to the Knicks. I bet that’s what this is all about.

  • Jenffrj

    In Phil we trust.

  • philip

    its funny, a 90-day review???? really??? “so mr. jackson you were able to trade away a washed up, fat, mediocre point guard (felton) and 1-dimensional center (chandler) for veteran legit starting point guard (calderon), serviceable center (dalembert), young talented point guard (larkin), young wing (ellington) and two 2nd round picks??? thank you mr. jackson you can go back to work now”….. this writer is a truely naive and shouldn’t be able to post this garbage to this website… its a detriment… phil jackson knows exactly what he is doing… carmelo has said himself, even before the season turned to shit last year, he would opt out of his current contract… he just turned 30 and he has never been a free agent… every player wants the experience… the fact you are writing that jackson lost anthony before free agency even began is comical. anthony’s supposed “suitors” will have to make drastic roster alterations before they even consider making a play for anthony… sign and trades, amnesty clauses whatever the case, would cause the bulls and rockets to become less deep… if we do work a sign and trade, it only makes the knicks take on additional assets (1st rounders) and good players… jackson has said he wants to go after a true franchise player in durant