Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Carmelo Would Be All Ears

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Carmelo Would Be All Ears

Article excerpt

BOSTON -- Carmelo Anthony stood against the wall at TD Garden on Wednesday morning, the questions coming one after another about the effect that the likely arrival of Phil Jackson to the Knicks' front office will have on the team.

But for Anthony, the real question is the effect it will have on him.

That will be the lasting legacy, the task handed to Jackson even before he arrives. It will weigh on the future fortunes of the team more than any other player, and more than a fifth straight win Wednesday, a 116-92 decision over the Celtics.

Anthony, who led a short-handed squad with 34 points, will opt out of his contract at season's end, become a free agent, and the decision he makes on where his future lies will have a massive effect on how the first season in New York goes for Jackson if he runs the operation next year.

Anthony said he's never spoken to Jackson, and although he's gotten word from management that Jackson is coming, he said it won't change his plans for the summer.

"Me?" Anthony said. "I don't think it'll have any effect on me, just as far as what I'm thinking or my decision or anything like that. Like I said, I haven't talked to Phil yet, just to get his insight on a lot of things, what's his plans, what's his future plan, because everything's in his hands now."

Jackson is expected to be introduced as Knicks president of basketball operations in the coming days, but the task of remaking the team in the wake of this troubled season will be as difficult for him as it has been for Steve Mills, who has held the title of team president and general manager this season. Mills did nothing at the trade deadline; his only moves were ridding the roster of Chris Smith, then the useful Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace.

The 11 championship rings Jackson has won as a head coach mean nothing in the front-office suites, other than a level of credibility the franchise has lacked. …

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