CHICAGO — Phil Jackson cares enough about Carmelo Anthony’s well-being to send a supportive text about his personal issues and still push him toward another — more successful — team.
Jackson, attending his first NBA combine as Knicks president on Friday, declined to answer any questions about the disgruntled Kristaps Porzingis, but he reiterated his previous stance on Anthony — even in the face of criticism from the player’s union — and managed to take a few shots at the media.
“(Carmelo) has a no-trade clause,” Jackson said. “I think I expressed what I felt. I can’t express it any better. I thought it was well-said even if a lot of you didn’t feel that way. We’d like him to have success, but the opportunity is narrowing. We’d just like for him to have success somewhere. We’re not going to be there. Hopefully we’ll maybe be a playoff team next year. It would tough to consider us possible champions.”
Still, Jackson said he reached out to Anthony via text to offer support amid reports of his extramarital affair and separation from his wife.
“Some personal things came out in the paper that was difficult,” Jackson said. “Wanted him to know we’re supportive of him.”
Jackson landed in the crosshairs of the player’s union for his postmortem press conference last month, when he said Anthony would be better off at this point in his career with a different franchise.
Despite pleas from union boss Michele Roberts for the league to discipline the Knicks president for “deliberately trying to shame Carmelo out of the city, Jackson is unconcerned. And for good reason.
Aside from accusing Roberts of “working it,” Jackson said Friday he has called NBA commissioner Adam Silver and they’re “on the same path.” Jackson said the commissioner is reassured that the Knicks are headed in the right direction, despite any contrary reports in the media.
“I’ve known Adam for some time so we talk about business, about various things, about what’s important for our franchise. We have a number of issues that I think are important. The press is one of them,” Jackson said. “You guys want to knock us around a little bit and make it seem like we don’t know what we’re doing. But they’re comfortable.”