For someone known as the 'Zen Master' and for being a smart man, Phil Jackson doesn't have a lot of tact. He's a man who loves to fight his battles in the media, just like Knicks owner James Dolan, but he's also someone who can't let anything go.
Well, he wants to let someone go, but that's not the point. Jackson can't seem to say anything that doesn't get taken the wrong way, but it's hard not to take what he said Friday at the NBA Combine the wrong way.
"We'd like him to have success,"Jackson said of Carmelo Anthony, per ESPN. "The opportunity is narrowing. We'd just like him to have success somewhere. We're not going to be there. Hopefully, we'll be maybe a playoff team next year. It would be tough to consider us a possible champion."
It's an easy quote to take out of context, as some may say he's referring to the Knicks' opportunity narrowing with Melo there. But he essentially is asking a player to void a contract the team offered him in the first place. The Knicks agreed to the no-trade clause, now they want to renege on it.
Melo has every right not to drop the no-trade clause, but Jackson continues to run to the media with hopes the public callout will convince the former Syracuse star to drop the clause and help out the Knicks. Mind you, the Knicks have done very little to help him in his time in New York, other than bring in broken down players like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and belittle Melo throughout the process.
Jackson isn't wrong, though. If Melo were to drop the no-trade clause, the Knicks could add some good players. But the Knicks' problem is far greater than Carmelo Anthony. Kristaps Porzingis is upset, the players don't like coach Jeff Hornacek or his offense, and there's a good chance the Knicks will have a new head coach in two years.
There is far more to the Knicks' problems than Melo's no trade clause, but Jackson is blind to that. Instead he decides to call out the media for taking quotes out of context when he makes it so easy to do so.
"I think I expressed what I felt. I can't express it any better," he said. "I thought it was well-said, even though a lot of you didn't feel quite that way."