Phil Jackson is doing whatever he can to remain relevant — including throwing one of his former players under the bus.
It’s no secret that Jackson and Carmelo Anthony didn’t get along, with their personalities clashing while paired together in New York. It was a marriage that was doomed from the start, as the two were like oil and water. Jackson is an old-school, no-nonsense guy, and Melo had the “superstar” personality, which is more common nowadays than it once was. And Jackson simply didn’t tolerate it.
But it is surprising that Jackson still appears to harbor some negativity toward Anthony, possibly because he blames the veteran forward for some of his failures as Knicks president. And while Anthony may deserve some of the blame, Jackson dished out some awful contracts, with the $72-million deal given to Joakim Noah being once of the worst in NBA history. Drafting Frank Ntilikina with the eighth overall pick in his last year at the helm was a head-scratcher as well.
Jackson recently appeared on The Curious Leader podcast, and he spoke candidly about Anthony’s leadership ability, and even revealed that he wanted to trade the team’s biggest star at the time.
“Carmelo, I think, wanted to be a leader, but I don’t think he completely knew how to be a leader as a player,” Jackson said, as transcribed by Yahoo Sports. “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 happen between players and coaches. And as much I tried to interject my own beliefs, I don’t think you’re close enough to the ground in that situation to really be effective in dictating how things are going to be done.
“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 your time has come with being with the Knicks. So that was met without compliance.”
Maybe one day Jackson will address his failures in attempting to rebuild the Knicks, as there were many to pick from.