Carmelo Anthony agrees with Phil Jackson. He can take his game to another level, and he thinks Jackson may be the guy to help him do so.
When Jackson was introduced as the team's new president on Tuesday, he said that Anthony was a part of his plan. But he added that he thought Anthony could improve his game by playing in a structured system.
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Did it upset Anthony to hear this critique by his new boss? Not at all. Instead, he said he is looking forward to working with Jackson.
"It's good to hear him say that," Anthony said before scoring 34 points Wednesday night in the Knicks' 92-86 victory over the Pacers at the Garden. "I was hoping to be a part of the future plans. I never once said I wanted to leave New York or anything like that. The only thing I said was I want to try out free agency and opt out and be a free agent. I'm excited about the opportunity to work with Phil."
Anthony, who becomes a free agent this summer, can make the most money by re-signing with the Knicks. They can pay him about $34 million more than any other team. Anthony also has said that being on a team that can contend for a championship consistently matters more to him than the money.
The Bulls will have money to spend this summer and could use a scorer like Anthony, and the Rockets reportedly have interest in the seven-time All-Star. Jackson's arrival, however, could help keep Anthony in New York, especially if he believes the team is now headed in the right direction.
Anthony said he has yet to talk one-on-one with Jackson. He did shake his hand Wednesday afternoon when Jackson met with the entire team before the game.
There has been a lot of conjecture about whether Anthony, who is pretty much used to doing what he wants offensively, will be able to play in the structured triangle offense that Jackson likely will bring to the Knicks. Anthony, 29, said he is not wedded to playing in one particular way and is open to anything that will make him a better player.
In fact, he said he was happy to hear Jackson say that there is another level he can take his game to.
"I love it. I don't think it was anything bad he said," Anthony said. "As an individual over the years, I think I have gotten better as a player. For him to come in and say that, we're on the same page. I believe I can take my game to a whole 'nother level.
"Just with Phil's expertise, I can rely on him and talk to him and use him as a mentor to try to get to that next level. I'm not at the stage where I'm sold on this and sold on that. I want to get better. I'm looking to get better. With that comes, hopefully, a championship. I'm all about enhancing my game. If Phil can help that, I'm all about that. I spend a lot of time in the offseason trying to enhance my game. His expertise, if he can help me out with that, my door is open."