The Knicks won’t take the court to kick off the new season until Thursday, but already the change in culture between the executive tenures of Phil Jackson and Steve Mills/Scott Perry would appear to be night and day. The team has a unified vision, a more consistent identity in embracing its youth, and players seem to be building early camaraderie. On-the-court results may take much longer to obtain at this point, due to an array of shortcomings on the defensive end of the floor. Still, everyone involved understands this will be a slow-moving process that requires patience. With more clarity and support from the front office, however, will come positive vibes moving forward.
Jackson’s time with the team is officially in the rearview mirror. But as the Knicks open up a new season with a fresh outlook, a familiar face who stands tall, indicative of Jackson’s failures, in Carmelo Anthony will emerge as the Knicks take on the Thunder.
As he prepares for a fresh start of his own, albeit it, against his former team, Anthony says he harbors no ill will toward New York. That being said, the disregard from Jackson became too overwhelming to handle. It was clear that Jackson wanted Anthony gone. Ironically enough, when the Knicks needed Anthony’s value to be at an all time high in order to get the best value back in return for a trade, Jackson didn’t stop short of publicly criticizing the star forward and airing out some dirty laundry in interviews and on social media. This created a massive cloud of negativity that made it difficult for Anthony to focus and perform at the best of his ability.
“I was being pushed out. There were things being said about me that I didn’t know where they were coming from,” the new Thunder star told Marc Stein and The New York Times. “And I still had to go in that gym and play and practice and deal with the media, answer all those questions every day.”
Anthony added that despite Jackson’s comfort in making his feelings clear about the ten-time NBA all-star in the public eye, the two only spoke face-to-face “maybe twice” over the course of last season. He felt “no support” from the organization. By the time Mills was promoted, Perry was brought in, and Jackson was ousted, it was too late to try and pick up the pieces and hope for a resolution that included Anthony continuing to don orange and blue.
“I already had in my mind that I wanted to win, that I wanted to move on. We didn’t think it would take as long as it did, but my mind was already made up,” he conveyed.
Teams like the Rockets and Cavaliers filled the headlines that were associated with Anthony departing the Big Apple. Oklahoma City arrived late to the party, but it was arguably Anthony’s son Kiyan who had somewhat of a premonition beforehand.
“[My son] was like, ‘Dad, where you getting traded to?’ I told him, ‘I don’t know, where do you think I should go?’ He said: ‘You really want me to give you my opinion? I think you should go to O.K.C.’
With the trade still fresh in people’s minds, it’s important to understand how everything came to be. However, by the time Anthony takes the court to face the Knicks on Thursday evening, both sides will be able to move on and hopefully not look back.