On Tuesday, Phil Jackson took a shot at New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony in the most Phil Jackson way possible.
Anthony has been involved in a number of rumors lately as a trade candidate before the NBA's trade deadline on February 23rd, to the point where Anthony himself said they're testing his will. The Knicks have reportedly spoken to the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers about trading the star player, who would need to waive his no-trade clause to play elsewhere before his contract expires in 2019. He has also been linked to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, although it's unclear how serious those conversations have been.
One of the individuals tasked with trying to find Anthony a new home is Knicks president Phil Jackson. And on Tuesday, Jackson posted a cryptic tweet about Anthony that turned out to be a big slap in the face.
Bleacher's Ding almost rings the bell, but I learned you don't change the spot on a leopard with Michael Graham in my CBA daze.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 7, 2017
Seems innocuous, right? Just the Zen Master being the Zen Master. It could have passed in the night without anybody paying any attention, but then a few Twitter sleuths quickly decoded the meaning behind the tweet.
"Bleacher's Ding" is Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, who wrote an article earlier this week titled "Phil Jackson, Knicks doomed by wanting Carmelo to be something he is not." Obviously Jackson agrees with much of what Ding had to say – the "something [Anthony] is not" being Phil Jackson's Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant in New York – but he also added he's learned that players won't change by referencing Michael Graham, a former college star who got into trouble academically at Georgetown and failed to make it in the NBA.
Keep in mind Anthony has played 14 seasons in the NBA with career averages of 24.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He's also an NCAA Champion and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. While he isn't LeBron, Kobe or Jordan and doesn't have any NBA titles to his name, he's had an incredibly successful career that makes him a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Plus, if Jackson didn't think Anthony was capable of carrying the mantle in New York, he didn't have to re-sign him to a $124 million contract with a no-trade clause attached to it.
Currently fourth in line for an Eastern Conference playoff spot and not giving fans much to watch on the court, the New York Knicks have become the NBA's best soap opera to pay attention to off of it. If it wasn't for all this drama surrounding a trade that probably won't end up happening, there'd be no reason to even Google what's happening with the team right now.