Knicks’ Phil Jack­son takes dig at Carmelo An­thony in tweet

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

Phil Jack­son may be try­ing to trade Carmelo An­thony be­cause he’s given up try­ing to change him.

That seemed to be the con­clu­sion Tues­day when the New York Knicks pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball op­er­a­tions broke his Twit­ter si­lence with another dig at the star for­ward.

In the tweet, Jack­son re­ferred to a col­umn by Bleacher Re­port writer Kevin Ding that sug­gested Jack­son is frus­trated be­cause An­thony doesn’t have the same will to win as Michael Jor­dan and Kobe Bryant, two of Jack­son’s great­est players when he coached.

Jack­son tweeted on Tues­day: “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.”

Jack­son was re­fer­ring to Michael Gra­ham, a col­lege star from Ge­orge­town who never en­joyed much suc­cess in the pros. Jack­son coached Gra­ham with the Al­bany Pa­troons of the now-de­funct Con­ti­nen­tal Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

Knicks coach Jeff Hor­nacek said there wasn’t much talk about Jack­son’s tweet among players Wed­nes­day dur­ing their morn­ing work­out be­fore play­ing the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers. He said it could be a dis­trac­tion for the team, but didn’t think it was nec­es­sary to dis­cuss it with An­thony.

“We had a cou­ple of th­ese things be­fore and the first time it hap­pened I had texted him and this was, I don’t know, a month or so ago and he goes, ‘No, I’m good, I’m good,”’ Hor­nacek said. “So like I said, he knows how to han­dle this stuff and I didn’t feel a need to talk about it. If he wants to talk with Phil about it I’m sure he will.”

An­thony de­clined a re­quest for an in­ter­view be­fore the game.

It was at least the third time this sea­son that Jack­son or some­one close to Jack­son was crit­i­cal of An­thony, the 32-year-old for­ward who re­mains the best player on the dis­ap­point­ing Knicks. That has trig­gered re­ports that Jack­son is try­ing to trade An­thony, who ac­knowl­edged re­cently that the ques­tion is wear­ing on him.

“It def­i­nitely kind of tests you. It puts you to the test and you have to dig deep within your­self to get through it on a day-to-day ba­sis and fig­ure out a way to still go out there and play at a high level ev­ery night,” An­thony said af­ter a loss to Cleve­land on Satur­day.

“It is test­ing my will, it is test­ing me as a hu­man be­ing, but it is also mak­ing me stronger through­out this process.”

Jack­son said in one in­ter­view this sea­son that An­thony tends to hold on to the ball too long to be suc­cess­ful in the tri­an­gle of­fence. Then Charley Rosen, a Jack­son con­fi­dante and for­mer as­sis­tant coach, wrote a col­umn that was heav­ily crit­i­cal of An­thony, say­ing his legs are “go­ing, go­ing, al­most gone” and that “the only sure thing is that Carmelo An­thony has out­lived his use­ful­ness in New York.”

Rosen later wrote another piece say­ing those were his thoughts alone, af­ter An­thony spec­u­lated they must be Jack­son’s as well. An­thony then met with Jack­son and told him his pref­er­ence was to re­main in New York.

He owns a no-trade clause that Jack­son gave him when An­thony re-signed with the Knicks in 2014, al­low­ing him to ap­prove any deal. But Jack­son has re­port­edly reached out to the Cava­liers, Clip­pers and Celtics to see if they would be in­ter­ested in a trade.

AP PHOTO

In this Jan. 11 file photo, New York Knicks’ Carmelo An­thony looks on dur­ing a break in an NBA game against the Philadel­phia 76ers in Philadel­phia.

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