Carmelo Anthony may have reiterated an interest to remain in New York during his conversation with Phil Jackson, but do the Knicks still want him in town? Based on previous failures, his time may be ticking in New York.
In his one-on-one meeting with the Knicks' star, Jackson likely attempted to distance himself from the harsh criticism his friend and confidant Charley Rosen recently wrote in an online column. But Jackson himself has been critical of Anthony.
This sitdown could have proven to be an opportunity for the two to really get to the bottom of New York's problems, pinpointing how Anthony -- obviously an integral part of this team's performance -- is at the center of such struggles.
Employing a star caliber player with Anthony's talents is a positive feather in a franchise's cap. He has the desire to be in New York. But does he have the hunger to make the necessary changes in his game to help the Knicks succeed? After asking if he wanted to be a Knick, that could have very well been the next question out of Jackson's mouth. If Anthony wants to stick around, Jackson would have been smart to outline what the team needs from him in order to compete.
An improved effort and dedication on the defensive end is one thing. A mindset that he will continue to defer and, over time, take a back seat to Kristaps Porzingis (all the while still contributing, of course) is another. Anthony has the talent around him to succeed. If he decides to embrace those around him, this can easily take the pressure off. There's no longer a need to carry the team on his back.
If Anthony can lock in and focus around these concepts, perhaps the Knicks will right the ship. Jackson has been critical of his play before, so he obviously hasn't gotten everything he wants from Anthony. Like it or not, Anthony needs to buy in if he wants to be appreciated. As long as Jackson is around, his vision is being carried out.
Of course, Anthony has the power in the form of a no-trade clause. Nevertheless, if the Knicks keep losing and the blame falls largely on his shoulders, Jackson could attempt to appeal to his senses. At some point (perhaps that breaking point is coming sooner than later), both sides may have to cut their losses and realize this experiment has failed.
The power Anthony holds could ensure he goes somewhere that would be a good fit for him and his family. When push comes to shove, however, even he may have to understand it'll be time to part ways. That depends on if he can give Jackson what he wants and ensure that it also results in more victories.
The Knicks have options to explore (even keeping Anthony's preferences in mind) with teams like the Clippers, Cavaliers, Celtics, and Wizards, as Marc Berman writes in the NY Post. Given that most of those teams are current contenders, they may not be able to accommodate the Knicks with future assets. At some point, though, an addition by subtraction strategy in order to start fresh may be beneficial, regardless of what New York gets in return.
The meeting between Anthony and Jackson hopefully provided each side with clarity. Jackson understands Anthony wants to stay, but now Anthony should understand what he needs to do to continue proving that.