Teams not easily reaching Phil Jackson for trade calls, settling for Steve Mills

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Carmelo Anthony had a tough time setting up a meeting with Phil Jackson.

It seems Anthony isn’t the only person who struggles to communicate with the Knicks president.

Bobby Marks on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix:

I’ve talked to a lot of teams, and it’s not just the media that he’s not out in the public with. He’s not an easy man to get in touch with. If you’re going to try to make a trade proposal with the Knicks, you’re not going to Phil Jackson. You’re going to Steve Mills. And that’s how it’s been for teams in the trade process.

Mills, the Knicks’ general manager, has held this responsibility for a while. Even with Jackson seemingly taking a more active role earlier in the season, that apparently hasn’t changed – though I wonder whether it’s still true for bigger issues like shopping for an Anthony trade.

This will only reinforce the perception that Jackson – who held no front-office experience before New York gave him $12 million per year – is more interested in cashing checks than actually doing the job. He leaves games early. He took a vacation in the middle of a coaching search. And he doesn’t even take trade calls himself?

Not all team presidents handle those day-to-day operations. For example, Pistons president Stan Van Gundy has general manager Jeff Bower handle most trade discussions until they become serious enough to bring in Van Gundy. But Van Gundy also coaches Detroit. Jackson’s only role is as an executive. Kings general manager Vlade Divac has also been notoriously difficult to reach, but that’s not good company, anyway.

Jackson hasn’t built a good team. He’s not playing a leading role trying to improve the franchise’s standing through trade. He’s not even putting a reassuring face on the franchise, refusing to speak publicly during numerous fiascos this season.

Why are the Knicks paying him so much?