Al Iannazzone joined Newsday in January 2012 as the Knicks’ beat writer, after covering the NBA for 11
Carmelo Anthony is one of the best isolation players and scorers in the NBA.
Phil Jackson believes in a system, players moving, selflessness and team ball.
This partnership won't work. It's doomed to fail.
That was the narrative and rhetoric leading up to Jackson's being hired as the Knicks' president. But there is another way to look at it: It just might work and work well.
Jackson said at his introductory news conference that Anthony, who will be a free agent in July, is "in the future plans." Anthony said he is "blessed and honored to hear that" and that he doesn't want to leave New York.
We'll know in the offseason if both men meant it, because teams more ready to contend than the Knicks, such as the Bulls and Rockets, could pursue Anthony in July. The Knicks still can offer the most money and now have Jackson, which Anthony says makes them "more attractive."
We know that playing in a system didn't work for Anthony in the past. Remember Mike D'Antoni? But there's reason to believe it will be different this time.
Anthony is older now, more mature. He will be 30 in a couple of months. He has proved during the last two years that he can do more than score and is willing to do things other than score. And you have to believe he will listen to Jackson.
Jackson comes with tons of street cred and 11 diamond-encrusted championship rings as a coach.
He helped make Michael Jordan arguably the best player in NBA history and one of the greatest winners. He butted heads with Kobe Bryant, but they won five championships together. Bryant ultimately realized how much Jackson did for him and his career.
Anthony lists Jordan and Bryant as two close friends. He would like to enjoy some of the success they have, along with another good buddy, LeBron James.
Anthony has won only three playoff series, including only one as a Knick, and he is dangerously close to missing the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career.
Enter Jackson and his ideas and beliefs on how to transform a team and make them understand what it means to be a team and how to win.
Whomever Jackson names coach will believe in Jackson's way, the triangle offense, and Anthony will have to follow.
Actually, Jackson and Anthony need each other. Jackson knows you need great players to win; Anthony needs strong leadership.
He said he would be willing to change his game -- and he would have to -- to play in Jackson's system. But keep in mind that Jordan led the league in scoring seven times under Jackson and Bryant did it twice.
So Anthony still will score, but he will score in different ways. The game could become easier for him, depending on whom Jackson can put around him.
The biggest thing is that Anthony ultimately could have a chance to win much more than he ever has. It sounds crazy, but it just might work.
Delayed price hike
Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan said "no one is more frustrated than I am" about the Knicks' record and level of play and added that he will not raise ticket prices next season. But with Jackson here, he doesn't expect too many more seasons like this one, so . . .
"It's been a tough year and it's the tradition that we've had with the organization, we will not raise ticket prices for next year," Dolan said. "Instead, we'll have a great year next year at the same price and hopefully everybody will find that that product is more valuable, and hopefully after that, we'll raise ticket prices."
Late last week on Twitter, Magic Johnson pleaded for the Lakers not to let Jackson sign with the Knicks. After Jackson did, Johnson was back with a string of tweets wishing him well.
"Congrats to Knicks Owner Jim Dolan & GM Steve Mills on bringing in a champion and winner like Phil Jackson," Johnson tweeted.
"All Phil Jackson has to do is look at 2 former players with Laker ties who are 2 of the best NBA executives ever, Pat Riley & Jerry West.
"Pat Riley & Jerry West set the standard on how to transition from being on the court to the front office.''