THE ongoing drama between Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony took another turn after the New York Knicks president took a jab anew at his star forward in a tweet on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).
Jackson referenced a Bleacher Report column by NBA senior writer Kevin Ding, “Phil Jackson, Knicks Doomed By Wanting Carmelo To Be Something He Is Not.”
Ding wrote about Jackson’s attempts to mold Anthony to play within a team system, similar to how the 11-time NBA championship coach convinced superstars Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to adjust their superior talent to the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.
But in the piece, Anthony was described as more focused on his individual success and preference to dominate the ball, leading to questions about the 33-year-old star’s commitment to winning a title. Jackson then chimed in with his cryptic tweet.
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.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 7, 2017
In his tweet, Jackson compared Anthony to Michael Graham, a volatile forward from Georgetown who Jackson coached in the Continental Basketball Association. In New Year’s Eve in 1986, both men were involved in an argument that happened during the game. Graham was later released by the Albany Patroons a few days after the incident.
In his memoir, Jackson wrote that he had difficulty reaching out to the talented Graham.
"Nothing I said made any difference," Jackson wrote. "Whenever I tried to talk to him, his eyes would glaze over and he'd retreat to some dark inner corner nobody could penetrate."
Jackson, who is known to use unorthodox methods to get the most from his players, made the public dig on Anthony during a time when the Knicks are engaged in ongoing efforts to trade him.
In the early part of this season, Jackson believed Anthony could assume the same role that Jordan and Bryant played in the triangle offense but observed that the nine-time All-Star has a habit of holding the ball for too long.
Reports said that Jackson, who re-signed Anthony in 2014 to a five-year, $124 million contract, has been talking to at least three teams that might be acceptable destinations to Anthony, who has a no-trade clause in his contract.
Previous reports have said the Cleveland Cavaliers declined the Knicks' offer to swap Anthony for Kevin Love. Sources added that the Cavs have an interest in Anthony, a close friend of star LeBron James but only if an agreement can be made that would not include Love.
It was also reported that the Los Angeles Clippers have expressed interest with Anthony but would not trade their core players Chris Paul, Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan.