Phil Jackson’s crusade to trade Carmelo Anthony continued this week with a Twitter jab at the Knicks superstar forward. This was the latest effort from Jackson to prod Anthony into waiving his no-trade clause and accepting a trade elsewhere. The Knicks have reportedly had preliminary discussions about a trade involving Anthony with the Cavs, Celtics and Clippers.
Anthony has continued to insist he wants to stay in New York, citing not wanting to uproot his family as the primary reason. He’s well within his rights to want to do that, and it’s created an interesting power dynamic in the Big Apple. Normally, a player has very little input into team decisions regarding a trade, but in Anthony’s case, being one of the rare players with a full no-trade clause, he has the final say.
That power dynamic has led to Jackson resorting to being publicly critical of Anthony in an effort to make Anthony want out of the organization. What Jackson may not have realized is how detrimental his actions with Anthony could be to the Knicks future plans in free agency.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, Jackson’s handling of the Anthony situation has not been well received by agents around the league, and it could affect the Knicks in free agency.
Multiple prominent agents said on Tuesday afternoon that the way Jackson has handled Anthony would turn off their clients and others to the idea of signing with Jackson’s Knicks.
This is a problem for a team with designs on a rebuild this offseason, so long as they can ship out Anthony. The goal, according to Begley, is for a quick rebuild by bringing in young players alongside Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez, and then attempting to lure a free agent to the bright lights of New York City.
However, this may not be as easy as it seems. Jackson’s handling of Anthony only adds to the Knicks issues in landing a big time free agent. The Knicks are no longer a franchise kids from outside the New York area grow up dreaming of playing for, and the lack of a winning tradition over the past decade plus, coupled with general ineptitude from management, makes the Knicks a much less desirable landing spot for free agents than the organization or fans would like to believe.
Star players want to be handled a certain way, and Jackson’s insistence on trying to bully Anthony out of town isn’t the kind of thing stars are going to be attracted to. Phil Jackson, the coach, was once a figure that stars wished to play for. Phil Jackson, president of basketball operations, appears to be have the opposite effect.