Mark Jackson has Carmelo Anthony’s back, says Phil Jackson has been “failure” running Knicks


Phil Jackson sent messages through the media, tried to keep players off-balance, and simply handled a lot of guys over the course of his Hall of Fame career the way he has handled Carmelo Anthony the past year. Jackson knows it’s time to move on from the ‘Melo era — Anthony understands that as well — so he used tactics that worked in the past, all but saying he wants Anthony to accept a trade.

But it plays differently when you’re a coach, around the players and in the room with them daily, than when you’re a team president speaking from an ivory tower. If anything, Jackson has generated more sympathy for Anthony.

As evidence of that, look what legendary Knicks point guard Mark Jackson said Tuesday, speaking on a conference call about the NBA Finals (where he will be a broadcaster).

“Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches in the history of sports, not just basketball, but in sports. I can say that definitively. I can also look at the numbers and say as the guy running the New York Knicks, he’s done a poor job. When you look at the results, he’s been a failure thus far. Carmelo Anthony is an outstanding basketball player who has handled himself remarkably during these last couple years. Like Jeff said, at the end of the day, he negotiated a no-trade clause. I think you’re going about it the wrong way trying to force him out. He has all the power, and he’s taken full advantage of it.”

Not surprisingly, Mark Jackson is protecting a star player. But he’s not wrong, either.

Whether it was Jackson who okayed it or it was on orders from owner James Dolan, the fact is Anthony has a no-trade clause. Which means if you want to move him you have to work with him, hand-in-hand with his agent. Jackson is not going to bully Anthony into just waiving his no-trade clause so he can be shipped off to Orlando or wherever for prospects — Anthony will want to pick-and-choose where he goes, and it will be a contender (or a team he thinks he can make a contender). Those kinds of deals may be out there, but they will not be delicate to put together and take patience.

I’m not sure I can write Jackson off as a “failure” yet, he did draft Kristaps Porzingis, and that gives him the chance to build a foundation for this franchise to win for years going forward. However, his handling of players and insistence on the triangle offense — well, at times he insists, as he didn’t hire a coach for that system and they have tried to play other ways as well — keeps cutting off hope of progress at the knees. Maybe he rights the ship.

However, so far Mark Jackson is pretty spot on with his assessment.

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell wins throwback Dunk Contest with Vince Carter tribute

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LOS ANGELES — The 2018 Dunk Contest went retro.

And it worked.

The throwbacks started with Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. going quick-change to pay tribute to his father, the 1984 winner of the Dunk Contest.

Nance later had the best dunk of the night, but it wasn’t enough in the face of Utah’s Donovan Mitchell‘s strong and consistent night highlight by his throwback dunk — donning a Vince Carter Toronto dinosaur jersey and doing VC’s famed 360 dunk — which got Mitchell the 48 points he needed to hold-off Nance and win the contest. It was over.

“Growing up I was a big dunker,” Mitchell said. “I wasn’t really much of a basketball player. I just dunked and played defense, and I watched a lot of Vince’s videos. I’ve been seeing what he’s been doing all year at his age, which is incredible.

“So I figured, you know, at my size if I was able to get it, it would be a great dunk and a way to finish it, you know. And actually, funny story is I haven’t made that dunk in like half a year. I tried it in practice the past two days and tried it this morning, didn’t make it. Tried it last night, didn’t make it… But to be able to make it was why I was so excited.”

Earlier in the night, Mitchell had done another tribute worn a Darrell Griffith jersey — Utah’s Dr. Dunkenstien, who went to Louisville like Mitchell — for an off-the-side-of-the-backboard jumping over Kevin Hart dunk.

“You know, just knowing your history, I think, is the biggest thing,” Mitchell said of the throwbacks. “Just understanding where this game originated, I guess the OGs of the game, I guess you would call it. But just understanding. Even if it’s just dunking. Whether it’s dunking in the NBA in general, Darrell Griffith, we went to the same school in college. I know Darrell very well. Both got drafted by the Jazz, and he was an incredible player. To be able to pay homage to him meant a lot to me.”

For my money, Nance had the dunk of the night, his first in the Finals, a double off-the-backboard throwdown that you had to see on replay to get (it wasn’t as evident in the building what he had done until it was re-shown on the big screen).

It was a fun contest all night long.

Mitchell (the leader in the Rookie of the Year race) started it off brilliantly — he brought out a second backboard, and did a self-alley-oop off one to the other.

Larry Nance Jr. did his tribute to his father with his first dunk, and on his second one came from behind the backboard, going around the world, and threw it down hard. That got him into the Finals.

Oladipo missed all three of his dunks in the first round, which almost doomed his night. He, however, did a dunk wearing the Black Panther mask for his second dunk, which impressed.

Mitchell said he wanted to beat Dennis Smith Jr. because the Mavericks’ point guard had beaten him in dunk contests for years. Smith had one monster dunk, when he went between the legs and threw it down hard and got the full 50. It just wasn’t enough to get Smith to the Finals.

Nance started off the final round by bringing out his father again to throw an alley-oop to a windmill. Mitchell responded with a self-alley-oop to a windmill that was flat-out wicked. That got Mitchell a 50-46 lead after one round of the Finals.

Then Mitchell went to Vince Carter and “it was over.”

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

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LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

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LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.