Phil Jackson reportedly sat down with David Blatt and interviewed him for the New York Knicks coaching job. But that felt like Jackson going through the motions so he could say “see, we had a coaching search.” Jackson has said he wants a coach that he has a relationship with and who is committed to running the triangle offense. Blatt is neither of those things.
All reports are that Jackson is pushing for the hiring of Kurt Rambis, who was the interim coach the second half of last season, and who is Jackson’s good friend.
That frustrates Carmelo Anthony, who was on Sirus XM NBA radio and reiterated that he wants to see a full-blown, wide-ranging coaching search — and that he thought Tom Thibodeau would have taken the job if offered. Anthony was interviewed on that show by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
“I’ve said this and I’ll continue to say it, there needs to be a process,” Anthony said. “As long as there’s a process and you go through the proper channels to figure out exactly what you need to do, I don’t have no problem with that. But if you don’t go through that process and at least look to see what’s out there, then we have a problem with that.”
Two coaches fell off the market in the last week when Washington hired Scott Brooks and Minnesota landed Tom Thibodeau. Jackson wasn’t interested in interviewing either candidate. The News reported that Anthony was privately endorsing Thibodeau, the former Knicks assistant and Coach of the Year in Chicago.
Would Thibodeau have taken the job? Difficult to say. He and Jackson would have been oil and water. Thibodeau got the dual GM and coach chairs in Minnesota, but there are conflicting sources on how much power he was seeking. It seems in places where he trusted ownership/management and felt he could work with them, he’d take less power. How he felt about Jackson is that situation, you can take your own guess.
When asked if he believed in what Jackson was doing, Anthony wondered if he had much of a choice.
“I have to. My fate is in his hands,” Anthony said. “I have to believe in him. If I believe that I’m going to be here, I don’t have anybody else to kind of put my fate in.”
The other option is for him not to be in New York.
Which may ultimately be where this is headed (and may ultimately be what Jackson wants), although Anthony holds a no-trade clause so he can leverage his departure to a team where he feels he can contend for a ring. The Knicks (or, Anthony’s agent) are going to have to find a team willing to take on his max contract with a 15 percent trade kicker — even in a market flooded with cash that will not be easy. Especially when you consider the volume and quality of players that would need to go back to New York to make that deal work under the cap.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the slow decline in Anthony’s game with age, and the fast rise of Kristaps Porzingis‘ game, intersect in a place that brings New York anywhere close to a ring. It may be time for both sides to move on, and this coaching search could be the catalyst to make that happen. Then again, Anthony loves New York, wants to win there, and has the ultimate hammer.