Carmelo Anthony has been booed recently in Madison Square Garden. There is a segment of Knicks fans ready to move on from his era and make Kristaps Porzingis the center of the New York universe, and they see Anthony’s level of play and refusal to be traded as an impediment to that inevitable change.
However, there is also a segment of Knicks’ fandom that has Anthony’s back and understandably sees management as the issue — Phil Jackson has been the problem, not Anthony.
Count courtside regular and Knicks superfan Spike Lee among the latter group, via ESPN.
“I’ll pack Phil’s bags for him,” Lee told Tencent-ESPN’s Steve Zeng….
“I think I still believe in Carmelo, but Phil Jackson is making it very difficult for him,” Lee told Tencent-ESPN on Wednesday.
Carmelo Anthony has taken a lot of criticism over the years — and most recently from Phil Jackson — about his ability to lead the Knicks anywhere near title contention. He didn’t evolve into the kind of leader that Jackson had with Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. That may be true, but Anthony also has never had anywhere near the quality of teams around him MJ or Kobe did when they were winning rings — and that is on management. Not just Jackson, but the GMs going back a couple of decades, which kind of all swings back to owner James Dolan. We can debate if Anthony’s style of game — too much isolation on offense, not a lot of focus on defense — could have lifted a team to a title, but we’d be speculating because the Knicks never gave him a roster that could begin to answer that question.
Spike Lee has a point. Anthony wanted to be a Knick and played hard for this team. Fans should appreciate that.
That said, Anthony’s career arc and Porzingis’ career arc are not going to intersect anywhere near a title, either. The idea that it is time to find a new home for Anthony and retool the roster to fit Porzingis’ skill set is a logical one. Jackson has just handled going about it in the most soap opera way possible.