Jackson's tweet escalates his feud with Anthony

Carmelo Anthony (above)
Carmelo Anthony (above)

NEW YORK • Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson sat on a bench alongside the court at the New York Knicks' practice complex on Tuesday, some 15 hours after the team's National Basketball Association season had reached a low point with a humiliating loss at home to the woeful Los Angeles Lakers.

The two men talked, and they definitely had plenty to discuss, with the Knicks' season increasingly looking like a full-fledged fiasco.

But Jackson, the Knicks president, was not about to give reporters who cover the team any insight into the conversation he and Hornacek, the team's coach, were having. He had not spoken with the local news media since September, and he did not on Tuesday either, instead departing after his conversation with Hornacek ended.

Still, hours later, he did weigh in, with a comment on Twitter that could be viewed only as yet another attack on Carmelo Anthony, his star player but one he seems intent on shipping elsewhere by the Feb 23 trading deadline, even though Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract.

In the post on Twitter, Jackson signalled his approval for a Bleacher Report article that examined the evolving relationship between Jackson and Anthony and concluded that Jackson had erred in thinking he could turn Anthony from a one-dimensional scorer into a more well-rounded player.

The article said Anthony, 32, was a "likeable person" who did not possess the desire to win that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan displayed when they were playing.

"Jackson never thought Anthony had that fire," the article said, "but he thought he could balance Anthony's ball dominance by teaching teamwork and converting talent into a clear net positive."

EMPHASIS ON TEAM ETHOS

Jackson thought he could balance (Anthony's) ball dominance by teaching teamwork and converting talent into a clear net positive.

KEVIN DING, basketball writer for Bleacher Report, in an article on Carmelo Anthony that was endorsed in a tweet by Phil Jackson.

None of that, Kevin Ding wrote, has happened. Instead, he said, Anthony clings to his individual success "no matter the experience or insight put around him to teach him something more."

Many other commentators have come to the same conclusion, but it was Ding's article that got a thumbs-up from Jackson. The article, he said on Twitter, "almost rings the bell".

His post came on the heels of other critical comments that he and Charley Rosen, a Jackson confidant, had made about Anthony.

Early in December, Jackson took a jab at Anthony during an interview with CBS Sports Network, criticising his tendency to hold on to the ball. That comment led to a meeting between Jackson and Anthony to smooth things over.

In January, Rosen castigated Anthony in a column on FanRagSports.com, saying he had "outlived his usefulness in New York". That led to another one-on-one session between Jackson and Anthony.

Now there is the Twitter comment, which will most likely force Anthony to answer more questions about himself and Jackson this morning (Singapore time), when the Knicks play the Los Angeles Clippers.

It could be another uncomfortable moment for Anthony, which perhaps is Jackson's intent - if he is trying to convince Anthony that it would be better for him and the Knicks if he agreed to go to another team.

With five losses in their past seven games, the Knicks are 22-31 and stuck on the outer edges of the Eastern Conference play-off race.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 09, 2017, with the headline 'Jackson's tweet escalates his feud with Anthony'. Print Edition | Subscribe