New York Knicks: Trade Is In Phil Jackson’s Hands, Not Carmelo Anthony’s

Nov 14, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson sits alone as he watches the Knicks take on the Dallas Mavericks during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson sits alone as he watches the Knicks take on the Dallas Mavericks during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

With the New York Knicks’ season in the balance and the trade deadline approaching, a potential trade is in Phil Jackson’s hands, not Carmelo Anthony’s.

While many believe New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has the final say on a potential trade, it’s Phil Jackson who’s in the power position.

Hear me out.

As of today, trade talks are still in the preliminary stages. Despite the Cleveland Cavaliers declining a trade offer from the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson continued to pursue a trade, even if it didn’t include Kevin Love.

Given the Cavaliers’ current cap space situation, trading for Anthony without shipping Love is unrealistic.

The Los Angeles Clippers, on the other hand, are interested in trading for Anthony. Unfortunately, that trade would not include DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, or Chris Paul.

If completed, the trade would include Austin Rivers.

Jackson is unwilling to accept Jamal Crawford’s contract given his age, so the Knicks and Clippers are looking for a third team.

According to sources, Jackson has a higher asking price for Anthony than people expected, which is why trade talks with the Boston Celtics fell through so quickly.

The Celtics are unwilling to part ways with their lottery pick in the upcoming draft, and aren’t thrilled about giving up Jae Crowder, either.

For now, the trade talks have reached a stalemate.

However, if Jackson can work his magic and negotiate a trade where the Knicks would receive a significant piece in return for Anthony, he’d put himself in the driver’s seat.


A majority of Knick fans have been on board with shipping Anthony away in hopes to rebuild the franchise around Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez.

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A majority of Knick fans also tuned in to watch Wednesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, where they saw Porzingis and Hernangomez lead a comeback with Anthony on the bench.

Where fans disagree is the quality of return in an Anthony trade. Some believe Rivers is enough, while others believe Anthony is worth much more.

So, if Jackson has a trade on the table where most, if not all Knicks fans agree is enough of a return, the pressure shifts to Anthony.

Jackson will likely leak the trade to the media. At that point, Anthony will have two choices:

  1. Waive his no trade clause.
  2. Not waive his no trade clause.

If Anthony chooses the latter, a majority of Knick fans will turn their backs on him, if they haven’t already. The boos that have already been heard around Madison Square Garden will only get louder.

Anthony will be seen as a selfish superstar who cares more about his own convenience than the best interests of the Knicks.

Yes, Anthony does have the “final say” because of his no-trade clause. However, if Jackson releases an even trade proposal to the media, Anthony won’t have much of a choice.

My assumption is that Jackson won’t be able to find an optimal trade, as teams seem reluctant to trade for Anthony.

The Cavaliers won a championship with their current roster. They need a backup point guard, not another small forward. Why change?

The Celtics are in second place in the Eastern Conference with a potential number No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft. For a team that relies on ball movement and defense, trading for Anthony makes minimal sense.

The Clippers are trying to compete with the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. Given that Paul is in his later years, their championship window is closing.

In theory, trading for Anthony would make sense, as their weak spot is the small forward position. In real life, it’s hard to imagine how they would make an Anthony-Griffin-Jordan dynamic work.

Ironically enough, the Knicks host the Cavaliers on Feb. 4 at MSG.

Anthony has a golden opportunity to prove this team is best with him, as the world tunes in to watch a primetime matchup.

Every game that Anthony plays in from here until the trade deadline will help sway public opinion, either in his favor or against him.

LeBron James, Anthony’s longtime friend, believes in him.

Derrick Rose, Anthony’s newly acquired teammate, believes in him.

Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony’s teammate and protege, also believes in him.

The real question is: Do Jackson, and the fans, believe in him?

Must Read: What are the pros and cons of trading for Emmanuel Mudiay?

That answer will be provided in the near future.