BOSTON - Carmelo Anthony said he's "heard" that Phil Jackson will be joining the Knicks' front office, but that nothing is official yet. However, signs continue to point to Jackson returning to the franchise he helped win its last NBA title 41 years ago.
The Knicks did not comment on a report that Jackson has agreed in principle to be their president of basketball operations. But last night J.R. Smith tweeted, "Can't wait to work with the great @PhilJackson11 #TheZenMaster."
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Anthony said Knicks officials came to him a couple of days ago to talk about the likely hiring of Jackson. Anthony has never spoken to Jackson in his NBA career, but he spoke highly of him before the Knicks played the Celtics Wednesday night.
"I still don't have a lot of the details, all the details," Anthony said. "Have I heard? Yeah, I've heard that he will be coming on board. It's not official yet.
"You can always use Phil Jackson's insight on whatever -- his philosophy, his mind-set, his resume, what he brings to the game, what he brings to a team or organization. That goes without even saying, so we'll see how that plays out."
Reportedly, Jackson, 68, could make from $12 million to $15 million a year. The Hall of Fame coach won a record 11 championships with the Bulls and Lakers, but this would be his first time working in a front office.
Anthony played against Jackson-coached teams with the Nuggets, and thinks he can make a smooth transition to team executive and be able to put his stamp on the Knicks.
"I don't know exactly what his role will be,'' Anthony said, "but I'm pretty sure anytime Phil Jackson is involved he will be heavily involved, whether on the bench or in the front office.
"I'm sure he will try his best to do what he has to do to try to build a championship team. He knows how to put guys together, put a team together. We'll see what happens, but I haven't talked to him, haven't talked to anyone in the front office about their plans or anything like that."
Anthony's praise of Jackson could mean he wants to work for him. But Anthony, who will be a free agent this summer, still wants to hear what the Knicks' plan is.
"I don't think it'll have any effect on me, just as far as what I'm thinking, my decision or anything like that," Anthony said. "I haven't talked to Phil yet, just to get his insight on a lot of things, what's his plan, what's his future plan, because everything's in his hands now."
After the Knicks won in Cleveland Saturday night, Anthony said little about Jackson joining the organization, and that he hadn't been told anything by the front office. Anthony didn't seem bothered by that, but he made it clear the Knicks wanted Jackson and offered him the job regardless of what he thought.
"As far as being consulted and things like that, them guys got to do what they have to do -- the front office -- to make the moves,'' Anthony said. "They brought it to me, they told me a couple of days ago, but it wasn't something that was do or die based on my decision. Them guys was going to make that decision regardless of what I said.
"So I kind of let them guys handle their situation, me just try to focus on basketball and hope and pray that we all do the right thing to try and build the team."
There has been speculation that Jackson, who lives in California, wants to return to the Lakers in some capacity. Magic Johnson pleaded to the organization on Twitter not to let Jackson come to the Knicks.
Johnson has been critical of the decisions Lakers executive Jim Buss has made, most notably hiring Mike D'Antoni instead of Jackson to coach the team.
"I love Jim & Jeanie Buss, but we need Phil Jackson to be the face of our great organization, the Los Angeles Lakers," Johnson tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
Kobe Bryant addressed the media in Los Angeles Wednesday after it was revealed he would not play again this season. He said he can't imagine the Lakers not doing everything they can to make sure Jackson doesn't go to the Knicks.
"It would be hard for me to understand that happening twice," Bryant said.
Bryant may not have a choice.
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