Carmelo Anthony Told Teammates He Refuses to Let Phil Jackson Run Him Off the Knicks

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson has been using mind tricks and a public campaign to pressure Carmelo Anthony into waiving his no-trade clause, but it turns out Jackson’s tactics have been only strengthening Anthony’s resolve to remain with the team.

“[Jackson’s] underestimating ‘Melo’s willingness to stay,” a source familiar with Anthony’s thinking told The Vertical.  Anthony has privately told teammates, too: He refuses to let Jackson run him out of the Knicks.

Jackson has called three teams – the Cleveland Cavaliers,  Los Angeles Clippers, and Boston Celtics – trying to work out a possible trade.  The Cavaliers and Clippers reportedly have interest but only in putting together packages filled with role players.  The Cavs flat out refused the Knicks offer of Anthony for Kevin Love.  The Boston Celtics showed minimal interest, preferring to go after Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler, and Indiana Pacers’ star Paul George, both of whom are younger and better two-way players.

Jackson has given reporters blurbs about his issues with Anthony, talking about his ball hogging and such, but recently he took another approach, using his mostly dormant Twitter account.  He tweeted praise of a column by Bleacher Report writer Kevin Ding that suggested Jackson is frustrated Anthony doesn’t have the same will to win as other stars.

In the tweet, Jackson was also referring to Michael Graham, a college star from Georgetown who didn’t have much success in the pros and became a journeyman.  Jackson coached Graham on the Albany Patroons of the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association.  Anthony on the other hand, is a nine-time NBA All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist.

Here’s an excerpt from the Bleacher Report article:

Jackson undoubtedly overestimated his own ability—perhaps you’ve heard something lately about the no-trade clause he gifted to Melo in 2014—to kindle Anthony’s evolution from superstar to winning superstar.

Anthony is a likable person who just happens to be nothing near Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant in will to win. No, Jackson never thought Anthony had that fire, but he thought he could balance Anthony’s ball dominance by teaching teamwork and converting talent into a clear net positive.

That was part of the formula with Jordan and Bryant.

This season has further disproved that formula with Anthony.

It’s fairly obvious that either Phil Jackson or Carmelo Anthony will have to depart from the Knicks as they simply can’t coexist.  The question is, who will go?

Anthony’s contract guarantees him $24.5 million this season and $26.2 million in 2017-18, and he holds a $30 million player option for 2018-19. Plus, the Knicks must pay Anthony a $9.5 million bonus if he is traded.

Jackson has two years left on his contract including an opt-out clause this year, but reports say that not only does he want to finish out his contract, he wants to sign a new one with the Knicks in 2019.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see who breaks.