Carmelo Anthony says he's willing to change his game if Phil Jackson thinks he should
GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Carmelo Anthony can score on anyone, and he already could be scoring points with Phil Jackson.
Anthony said he will change his game if Jackson believes it will give the Knicks a better chance to win a championship.
"I'm willing to do whatever," Anthony said after practice Monday. "As long as it's going to put me in a position to win, I'm willing to do whatever.
"I'm not sold or stuck on my play. What I've been able to do these past 10, 11 years has gotten me at where I am right now. If Phil wants to come in and change that this late in my career, if it's going to help me win a championship, I'm with it."
The Knicks will roll out the red carpet for Jackson Tuesday morning when he's introduced as their new president in a move that Anthony says makes them "more attractive." Anthony plans to be there and looks forward to speaking to Jackson for the first time in his career.
Jackson has 13 championship rings, 11 as a coach and two as a player with the Knicks four decades ago. Anthony, 29, is a seven-time All-Star, but playoff success has eluded him. He's won only three series in his 11-year career and only one in his previous three seasons with the Knicks, who are in danger of missing the postseason this year.
Anthony said he hasn't reached out to friends Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, both of whom excelled while playing for Jackson. Both were considered scorers first and foremost, but Jackson helped make them better all-around players and winners. Jordan won six championships and Bryant five while coached by Jackson.
"As far as knowing what it takes to win, Phil is the best to ever do it," Anthony said. "So for me to be able to have the opportunity and have him by my side, for him to teach me, because I'm still willing to learn the game of basketball. And I haven't won anything. So he's won a lot. I can learn a lot from him and his system, things that he wants to incorporate here. I'm hoping and praying this all works."
Of course there are two caveats: Jackson won't be coaching Anthony, and there are no guarantees that Anthony will be a Knick after this season.
Anthony has said he will opt out and become a free agent this summer, and Jackson has to determine if he wants to keep him. Anthony has said he wants to see the Knicks' plan for building a championship team before he decides his future. Bringing in Jackson is a good start.
"For the big picture,'' Anthony said, "this is definitely more attractive."
The Knicks hope Jackson's presence and credibility will help them keep Anthony and get other superstar free agents to come to New York.
They stand to have plenty of cap space in the summer of 2015, when Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge can be free agents. LeBron James has an early termination option in his contract, so he could be a free agent either this summer or next. Kevin Durant could be a free agent in 2016.
Jackson can bring a jewelry box filled with championship rings to any meeting, so having him as their top recruiter could be a huge advantage for the Knicks.
"His resume is his resume, you can't change that," Anthony said. "Regardless of who you are, what type of player you are, you see a Phil Jackson resume and you automatically gravitate toward that."
Jackson was a member of the last Knicks team to win a championship 41 years ago. Some of his old teammates and current Knicks are expected to attend the news conference.
Jackson is expected to want to make major changes to the roster, coaching staff and basketball department. It's anticipated that he will bring in people he knows and trusts who can run the triangle offense -- and play in it.
"He can't help but enhance the organization," coach Mike Woodson said. "I think there's a buzz in the air. There's a lot of excitement around New York and Knick nation. Everybody's excited about him coming in."
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