The prospect of Phil Jackson joining the Knicks' front office is exciting for fans desperate for a dramatic change, and for an organization that hasn't won a title in more than 40 years.
But Carmelo Anthony has no opinion -- yet. And right now, his opinion might matter most.
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A big part of why the Knicks are pursuing Jackson is the hope that his 11 championships as a coach and his ability to deal with and relate to players will help keep Anthony in New York and bring other superstar-level free agents to the team.
"I don't even know what's going on with that, so it's hard for me to say anything,'' Anthony said after the Knicks beat the Cavaliers on Saturday night. "Nobody came to me about that. Until that time comes, I'm still not going to know what's going on, until somebody brings that to me.
"It's hard to say at this particular moment. If anything, it's not going to be right now. I'm pretty sure they'll wait until the offseason to make something happen and then everyone will deal with all that stuff at that time.''
Something could happen soon, though. Jackson reportedly will give the Knicks his decision this week. ESPN reported that Jackson is "leaning toward'' joining the Knicks' basketball department, but in what capacity still remains unclear.
Anthony will be a free agent this summer. The Knicks can pay him about $34 million more than any other team can, but he has sent mixed signals about his plans.
He has said he wants to retire a Knick and that he would be willing to take less money if it gives them the flexibility to bring in other players. The Knicks will have ample cap space in 2015.
But at times, Anthony also has sounded frustrated and dismayed by everything that has gone on during this disappointing season. The Knicks' struggles could impact his decision.
If Jackson were to coach the Knicks, that might have a bigger effect on Anthony's future and the team's. No coach has won as many titles. But Jackson, 68, has all but ruled out coaching. Perhaps the only thing that could bring him back is to guide a championship contender, and the Knicks (24-40) are far from that.
As the organization awaits word from Jackson, the Knicks finally are playing like a team that isn't waiting for the season to end. They have won their last three games -- all by double-digits -- and gained three games in a four-day span in the battle for the Eastern Conference's last playoff spot. The Knicks trail eighth-place Atlanta by 31/2 games and are tied with Cleveland for 10th, a half- game behind Detroit.
"We control our own destiny,'' Anthony said. "We want to win as many games as we can coming down the stretch and let the other teams worry about what they have to do.''
The Knicks have 18 games remaining and a favorable schedule -- if they can continue to take advantage of it.
On Monday night they host the 76ers, losers of 16 straight. The Knicks are at Boston on Wednesday and home for Milwaukee on Saturday. The three teams are a combined 89 games under .500.
"Every game is a very, very important game,'' Amar'e Stoudemire said. "No matter who it is, we got to look at it as such.''
Coach Mike Woodson has turned back the clock and started a front line of Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler the past four games, and the Knicks led by double figures in each. They squandered it in a loss to the Pistons, but in the last three, they closed out the games.
"It seems like everybody is playing their game, playing with some confidence at this point,'' Anthony said. "It seems like nobody is second-guessing themselves out there. Guys are just playing basketball. If they have a shot, they take it; if not, they swing it. It seems like we're starting to trust each other a little more.''
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