GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Phil Jackson’s next move is improving the Knicks.
During his news conference to announce the firing of coach Derek Fisher Monday, the Knicks president said the Knicks want to be active by the Feb. 18 trade deadline and add players who can help them make the playoffs. He also said some players are untouchable.
“We’re looking to improve this ballclub, there’s no doubt,” Jackson said. “We know that we have some good guys. The chemistry is pretty good. The talent can still be better. It always can, so we’re looking.
“We have a couple of players that probably are tabled, that we would say they are off the table for discussion. But like any team, looking to improve themselves, we are open to discussion.”
Jackson said Carmelo Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, and rookie Kristaps Porzingis are off-limits.
“Carmelo is the leader,” Jackson said. “We understand that. He’s on board. He’s going to move forward with this basketball club.
“We like Kris. Everybody likes Kris.”
The Knicks need to upgrade the point guard position and add a versatile, athletic wing player who can guard multiple positions and knock down shots. They’re limited in that they don’t have many assets and no first-round picks to trade until 2018.
“Do we sit in a really favorable spot? Probably not,” Jackson said. “We don’t have a tremendously amount of favorable trade items that are on our roster. Players that are good, some of them are undervalued, so you can’t get value back for what they are playing at right now.”
Jackson, who is nearing the two-year anniversary of when he was hired, said he remains committed to building the Knicks into a contender. Most of his work will come in free agency this summer when he hopes to add a marquee player.
“We want to peak,” he said. “We want to be attractive. We want to be a team that is out there, that finds a player that we want, that fits in with our group that we have here.
“We have some core players that I think are really good, that connect, that play ball with intensity, that are dedicated to this business. And we know that we need a player too that is going to make us move forward even farther, so we are out there looking for that. We are dedicated to that.”
Regarding Anthony, Jackson said the Knicks are balancing how much he plays, rehabs and rests as soreness in his surgically repaired left knee continues. Jackson said Anthony should play in Sunday’s All-Star Game but “just curtail the activity.” He suggested he play “one rotation or two” in the game.