What is Phil Jackson trying to accomplish by playing a game of chicken with Carmelo Anthony? Maybe, just maybe, he is trying to run him out of New York.
The new Knicks president had a lot to say about Carmelo in a meeting with reporters on Wednesday, and the most telling thing he said was that he hoped Anthony would stay true to his word and accept less than max money when the sides sit down to discuss a new contract after Anthony plunges into unrestricted free agency on July 1.
Anthony did indeed say he’d take less than the max if it would help the Knicks become a true championship contending team. But Anthony said it only once, at the All-Star break, and Anthony sometimes says things he doesn’t really mean.
I would argue that this is one of those times.
Think about it … Jackson has just given Rockets president Daryl Morey all the ammunition he needs to make the perfect pitch to Anthony, something that might sound like this: “Look, ‘Melo, the Knicks aren’t even willing to drop max money on you, and we are.
“Furthermore, the Knicks can’t make you any guarantees about who will be playing alongside you a year from now, when they can finally go free agent shopping. In the meantime, you have to sit and wait and hope for the best while enduring another so-so season. We, on the other hand, can assure you that you’ll be playing alongside James Harden and Dwight Howard immediately. So do you want to compete now? Or do you want wait another year and hope for the best from a team that is trying to make you take less than what you’re worth?”
“Oh, and by the way … we have no state income tax here in Texas, which means what we are offering you is basically the same as what you can get in New York, where there is not only a state income tax, but a city income tax, too.”
More on the ‘Melo-Jackson, dynamic plus a look at several playoff series, in this interview with Xtra Sports 1360 in San Diego.