Phil Jackson may be tweeting himself right out of New York. And maybe that’s exactly what he’s trying to do if he can’t trade Carmelo Anthony.
Jackson was at it again on Tuesday when he responded, via Twitter, to a Bleacher Report column that was critical of Anthony. Of course, Jackson could have used the opportunity to support his player. But that’s not his style.
Instead, he supported the premise of the column by throwing his best player under the bus. That’s classic Phil.
The story was written by Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, whom Jackson has known for more than a decade. The story made no bones about who is to blame for the Knicks lousy record.
The headline was “Phil Jackson, Knicks Doomed By Wanting Carmelo To Be Something He Is Not.” The story followed the similar theme.
Jackson, who hasn’t tweeted in nearly two months, sent this tweet at 3:22 p.m.: “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.”
Let’s start here: It’s absurd and insulting that Jackson would compare Carmelo, a future Hall of Famer, to Michael Graham. Also, the implication that the Knicks can’t win with Anthony completely ignores the fact that Anthony was an MVP candidate on a Knicks team that won 54 games four seasons ago.
The epic losing, including a franchise-low 17 win season, started once Phil arrived. The tweet reads like Phil is saying “I give up. I can’t win with this guy.”
Besides the losing and Phil’s revisionist history, a recurring issue is Jackson’s bullying of Anthony through the media. From telling CBS SportsNetwork that Anthony “stalls” the offense to having his buddy Charley Rosen eviscerate Anthony in a column, Jackson has gone out of his way to poke, prod and humiliate the Knicks’ most accomplished veteran.
At some point Garden Chairman James Dolan is going to say enough is enough.
Carmelo deserves better. As do his teammates, coaches and the Knicks loyal fans.
And mostly, Dolan deserves better.
The Knicks owner paid Jackson a king’s ransom to win games, resurrect the franchise and restore their credibility around the NBA. He’s done none of that. Instead, Jackson has produced a losing product on the court and made them a laughingstock off it thanks to his aloof and sometimes divisive behavior.
How much longer Anthony takes the high road remains to be seen. At some point, Anthony owes it to himself to swing back. Phil’s obvious attempt to make Anthony the scapegoat has been in the works for over a year.
Under Jackson, the Knicks have lost games, hired and fired coaches and signed players to bad contracts. In an attempt to take the focus off of his job performance, Jackson has at every turn made this about Anthony.
Dolan is okay with this? I don’t believe that for a minute. I also believe that Dolan has kept his promise to be hands off and is sensitive to the notion that he is a meddling owner. Now, however, he’s got to get involved.
He needs to get Jackson and Anthony into a room and settle this once and for all. If a decision is made to trade Anthony and if Carmelo agrees to waive his no-trade clause, so be it. A deal with Cleveland, however remote, remains in play despite LeBron James throwing a hissy fit.
Regardless if Anthony stays or goes, Dolan needs to convey to Jackson the importance of conducting himself like a leader of an organization has opposed to crazy uncle/aging hippie.
We’re getting to the point when Dolan is going to analyze Jackson’s results. He won’t be happy. Before Jackson arrived, the Knicks with Carmelo on the team went 127-103. With Jackson, the Knicks are 71-146 including a 22-31 record this season.
If Jackson can write a book called “Eleven Rings” he needs to own his Knicks record as well as opposed to passing blame to Carmelo. With the best leaders, accountability begins with them. And yet, Jackson refused to address Derrick Rose’s going AWOL. He refuses to address the state of his franchise.
The only time we hear from him is when he’s breaking up with his fiancee on Twitter or trying desperately to break up with Carmelo.
Or maybe this is Jackson just trying to break up with the Knicks.