GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Derek Fisher didn't have a dry erase board with him at his introductory news conference Tuesday, but the first play he'll try to devise is one that will keep Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks for the foreseeable future.
The Knicks' new coach said he hadn't spoken yet to the franchise's star player who can opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent. Team president Phil Jackson said a meeting between Anthony, himself and general manager Steve Mills is scheduled for sometime in the near future, likely with hopes to get a better handle on Anthony's intentions.
Until Anthony makes his decision, the Knicks won't be able to draw up their personnel plans, and Fisher said he has no clue which way Anthony is leaning.
"Only Carmelo can answer that question," Fisher said. "That's a big part of not only who I am as a person and have been as a player, but who I'll be as a coach, is that ultimately the decision to be great, to be a part of something special, to want to be the best that you can be is ultimately your choice. Carmelo is in a position as a player where that's his choice. I can speak from experience that as a player, free agency is something you want to experience. You enjoy the process but you ultimately make a choice that you feel like is best for you, your family and those people involved."
Fisher is confident that's in New York with a new hierarchy led by Jackson, who has 11 championship rings as a coach. In building a contender, Fisher wants to center it around Anthony.
"We obviously firmly believe that here is that place for Carmelo," Fisher said, "and we are going to do our best, not to convince him or change his mind from maybe a decision he's already made, but just help give him some confidence that with the personalities involved and our commitment to working hard to achieve a certain level of success, that this is the place where he can have what it is he wants."
"He wants to be on a great team, he wants to be around great people that want to achieve greatness. He's great and he deserves that. And so that's what we want to create with him and hopefully we can do it."Jackson joked he might have the perfect scenario drawn up when Fisher and Anthony sit down to chat.
"I think I'll have Derek wear all five of his rings the first time he comes in and talks to Carmelo and say, 'This is what we're working for, you know?' " Jackson said. "They've played enough ball against each other -- both Lakers versus Denver and Oklahoma versus New York and a variety of combinations of things -- so there's a feel that Derek has and I think that Carmelo will have.
"But more than anything else, I think Derek represented something when he was the head of the union at one time to these players, that when he was up there fighting for the whole league, the players association and the leadership that he showed in that phase was remarkable. I think the players all appreciated that and I think that's what they'll all remember."