This is where Phil Jackson is going to win over Carmelo Anthony. Not at some presentation in a hotel boardroom, handing him an iPad with a specially-designed program highlighting all the great things about being in New York, like the burger at Montmartre.
Jackson will win ‘Melo over in a quiet setting, laying out his vision, immersing Anthony in his vision of the Knicks culture and the future.
That started Tuesday night when Jackson and Anthony had a two-hour dinner at a Tribeca steakhouse, reports the New York Post.
The room seats 16, but Jackson and Anthony were alone, the source said, describing it as a place with marble tables and leather chairs. They met for two hours before leaving, the witness said. A source said the duo was in “deep conversation” during their meeting — a good sign.
You can be sure that among the conversations topics Jackson threw at Anthony was, “What do you think of Steve Kerr?”
Jackson, for his part, needs ‘Melo to fully buy in on the triangle and a more selfless system. Jackson is being paid $12 million a year not just to recruit Anthony or assemble a roster, but also to actually create a functional corporate culture in Madison Square Garden. That is bigger than Anthony — Jackson needs Anthony to buy in to make this work.
Anthony has said multiple times before that ultimately he wants to stay in New York but he needs to see a plan to make the Knicks competitive fast. He wants a ring.
Ultimately Anthony needs to decide what he really wants most — to lead the Knicks, or to take a healthy pay cut and win in Chicago or Houston? The Knicks could be good again in a few years, but it will be a process no matter what and Anthony is not getting any younger. Go to Chicago and, providing Derrick Rose is healthy, you can be a contender now, but it’s a pay cut and not the Knicks. What is really important to Anthony?
Phil Jackson knows who he is, he knows what he is trying to build, confidence and vision are strengths of Jackson’s. No doubt Anthony basked in that aura and got a sense of the man and the plan.
Is it one he wants to fully buy into? That’s the question on Anthony’s plate, next to that medium-rare rib-eye.