Nearly one full year into his tenure as the Knicks’ team president, Phil Jackson has rightfully torn out the team’s frame. Now he and Carmelo Anthony, the franchise’s signature player, must develop a selfless partnership if Jackson’s rebuilding plan is going to come to fruition. On the surface, they haven’t.
Anthony, driven by his own self-interests, unwisely played in this year’s All-Star Game before expectedly announcing the following day that he was ending his season to have knee surgery.
Last month, on these pages, it was noted that Anthony should not give any consideration to playing in a game inconsequential to the betterment of the Knicks. Jackson should have compelled Anthony to sit out the All-Star Game, have surgery weeks before it and allow himself ample time to recover from a left patella procedure. The duo would have sent an affirmative message to the Knicks’ fan base that the team is indeed their priority.
Instead of challenging Anthony with the fundamental principles of Zen, Jackson continues to sling arrows at the lesser players on the Knicks’ active roster who can barely get a ticket to an All-Star Game but are playing their hearts out.
Sunday, after the Cavaliers easily defeated the Knicks 101-83, Jackson tweeted, “Today’s game vs. Cavs gave [basketball] gods heartburn and those that know what ‘it’ takes/means.” Jackson didn’t clarify the vague missive, yet Knicks head coach Derek Fisher pre-emptively defended his players.
“I’m not really taking those as specific to any particular player, players, persons,” Fisher said Monday. “From my standpoint, I think our guys are trying and giving effort … It’s been a tough year.”
The resurrection of the Knicks begins with Anthony and Jackson. The 10-45 record the team took into Boston last night to face the Celtics is on the two of them. Case closed.