Phil Jackson saw Tyson Chandler’s game — a good pick-and-roll big who doesn’t fit the triangle offense well — and banished him from New York. Well… banished isn’t quite the word when you are sent from the 5-22 Knicks to the 18-8 Mavericks. Set free might be a better phrasing.
Carmelo Anthony chose to stay behind in New York with the Knicks. There are 124 million reasons he did. Plus of course his family liked it there. And he trusts Jackson, too. So 124 million and two reasons.
Chandler looks back at his friend Anthony in New York and feels sorry for him, he told ESPN after his Mavericks dispatched the Knicks with ease at Madison Square Garden Tuesday, 107-87.
“I do because he’s a competitor,” said Chandler, who received a warm ovation from the crowd in his return to Madison Square Garden and had eight points and 14 rebounds in the win. “I laced them up and went to battle with him for the last three years and know what kind of competitor he is.
“I know he wants to win, and I know he’s going to take a lot of this heat. And it’s unfortunate because he’s a hell of a player in our league. It’s just unfortunate.”
Unfortunate implies this was something beyond Anthony’s control. It wasn’t. He chose to stick with what was clearly going to be a rebuilding Knicks team that was going to go through some rough times. It’s not easy to change the culture of a franchise as Jackson is trying to do, plus the pieces to run his triangle offense are just not on this roster right now. Not even close. It’s going to take years and a home run in free agency (or maybe with their draft pick this year) to make it work. Carmelo could be part of that change, if he moves the ball better and plays more consistent defense (basically, if he becomes the change he wants to see).
Anthony made his choice.
Chandler has been set free. They both got what they wanted.