By Frank McLean
On Friday for only the second time since the beginning of training camp, September 23rd to be exact, the aging hippie that has finished the job of running the New York Knicks into the ground Phil Jackson spoke to the New York media to tell one and all why the Knicks stunk this past season.
In a 49-minute ego driven speech to the masses Jackson used the not recommended defense of “it’s not me it’s everyone else” as to why the season didn’t go right.
He claimed at first that yes as President of the team its failure is his responsibility, but then he went on and blamed everyone else.
His coach Jeff Hornacek, his moody and often injured guard Derek Rose, owner James Dolan , the fans and yes the media.
But the most of it was the finishing touches of his campaign to run Carmelo Anthony out of New York City because he is not on board with Jackson’s love of the triangle offense which has gone the way of the rotary dial telephone as a viable NBA offense.
Their end of the season exit meeting this week was not friendly to say the least.
Jackson started his rip job with, “Right now, we need players who are really active and play every single play. Defensively and offensively that’s really important for us. We faced resistance and we faced resistance at the top. We got rid of some guys early on that resisted, weren’t willing to be learners.”
That’s a hint that the reason the triangle didn’t work was because of Anthony.
But here is the problem that Jackson has with Anthony it’s that contract extension he gave him in 2014 which has two years left on it and 54-million dollars with a no-trade clause in it.
One of the worst kept secrets in the NBA was that Jackson was trying to move Anthony at the trade deadline in February. In order to move him Anthony would have to waive that clause and if he doesn’t like a specific trade option he can tell Jackson to “take a hike”.
It was believed that the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Clippers where kicking the tires about a possible trade.
Jackson did admit that it’s going to be difficult to pull off a trade.
“Some teams called that weren’t amenable to Melo and his group,’’ Jackson said. “Some teams called that were but weren’t willing to give up core groups or members of their team which is understandable at that time of the year. So we said no.”
Jackson is hoping some team’s failure in the playoffs made make them want to try and make a deal.
“You’ve got teams going into the playoffs who could be eliminated right away and say, ‘That’s not good enough. We’re not good enough. We’ve got to go somewhere else,” Jackson said.
Jackson then went on to praise Anthony because like every used car salesman knows when trying to make a deal you have to point out all the good things about the car and not go on about the fact it has 150,000 miles on it.
“Carmelo has been great. He is who he is,” Jackson said. “He’s just, he’s an elite scorer, guy will be a Hall of Fame entry at some point, 10-15 years down the road.
“He has always carried the basic load for this team. I thought he stood up well this year in a lot of tough situations. I can’t regret it. I can’t go back and regret that. Obviously, it hasn’t worked out. This partnership together, somehow or the other didn’t click here with this team. But he has done his role and played his role quite well.”
Jackson needs to look in the mirror, if his ego will let him, and realize it’s his fault why the Knicks have regressed and not progressed.
He hired the coach, he traded for Derek Rose, he singed a broken Joakim Noah to a 72-million dollar contract, he accepted the job from James Dolan and realize the fans and the media don’t wear a uniform and play basketball for him.
His press conference all but proved that this aging hippie has lost his mind.
Veteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.