Phil Jackson: With or without Carmelo Anthony, Knicks will move forward
GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Phil Jackson hopes Carmelo Anthony "is true to his word" and is willing to take less than a maximum contract to re-sign with the Knicks.
Jackson said he will talk to Anthony and try to convince him that if he gives up some money, then he could have better supporting players around him. But the Knicks president also said the team will move on whether Anthony stays or not.
"I'm all about moving forward," Jackson said Wednesday. "Just deal with what is and move forward. If it's in the cards, man, are we fortunate. If it's not in the cards, man, are we fortunate. We're going forward anyway."
Anthony, who will turn 30 May 29, will opt out of his contract and become a free agent July 1. The Knicks can give him a five-year deal worth roughly $129 million, about $34 million more than other teams can offer.
During All-Star weekend in February, Anthony said he would take less if it gave the Knicks more flexibility to sign other stars. That's what Jackson wants, and cited what Tim Duncan has done in San Antonio and the Heat's trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who sacrificed millions to play together.
"That's the beginning of team play," Jackson said. "I think a precedent's been set. The way things have been structured now financially for teams is that it's really hard to have one or two top stars or max players, and to put together a team with enough talent you've got to have people making sacrifices financially.
"So we hope that Carmelo is true to his word and we understand what it's going to take and we will present that to him at that time."
It doesn't sound as if Jackson is planning to go all out in trying to get Anthony to stay. When someone asked about "wooing" Anthony, Jackson, an 11-time champion as a coach, said he won't do that.
"I like convincing," he said. "I'd like to appeal to his better nature, by winning, and that's what we want to do."
Jackson acknowledged that whether Anthony stays, the roster will look different next season.
"There are going to be changes," Jackson said. "There's always changes in team dynamics. I told the players that [last] Wednesday night. There will be changes. That's just the way basketball is . . . You change the dynamics and one or two guys can change the complexity of a team. And the personality changes because of that. So we hope that's an addition that will help lighten the load of his teammates."