Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter
According to a Daily News report, Jackson will decide by next week whether to accept a front office position with the team with whom he won an NBA championship in 1973.
“He wants a management position and the power to make deals, a la Red Auerbach and Pat Riley,” one league source told The Knicks Blog. “If that’s not promised, he ain’t coming. They’ll have to promise him Melo will stay, too. And I don’t think they know if he is or not.”
You may recall that Jackson called the Knicks’ roster “clumsy” during a 2012 interview on HBO’s “Real Sports.”
“They don’t fit together well,” Jackson said. “Amar’e Stoudemire doesn’t fit well with Carmelo. Stoudemire’s a really good player. But he’s gotta play in a certain system and a way.
“Carmelo has to be a better passer. And the ball can’t stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kinda blend that group together.”
Stoudemire has one more year on his deal worth $23.4 million and it may be near impossible to trade him given his creaky knees.
As for Anthony, he may well opt to remain in New York for the payday but there are certainly no guarantees, especially if the Knicks miss the playoffs.
“He wants to win, too, and that’s gonna be tough in New York,” the league source said.
Knicks owner James Dolan wants to make a big splash in order to pacify the angry fans and placate Anthony, who is being openly recruited by stars from other teams.
Anthony has been linked to the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, and the league source threw out the L.A. Clippers as a possible destination, too.
“It’s an educated guess,” the source said. “He is the No. 1 free agent on everyone’s list but only a limited amount of teams may apply for his services. The Clips fit the bill. Big city, big-time coach.”
The Knicks are now targeting the summer of 2015, when Anthony will be 31, to go after free agents like Rajon Rondo and Kevin Love.
Still, there is no guarantee those players will come to New York — which has won one playoff series since 2000 — and also no guarantee that Jackson would be able to turn things around.
A second league source ripped into Jackson’s qualifications to be a GM.
“Every new GM does the perfunctory call to Phil so they don’t have to hear about it every day from the fans or the media,” the second source said. “Phil has never scouted, has zero agent relationships and can’t recruit. He should coach or go fishing in Montana and let the fish deal with his ego.”
The second source added that Jackson can be difficult to deal with, and that Lakers star Kobe Bryant had his issues with him.
“[Kobe] put up with him when they won rings with the best roster in the NBA,” the source said. “He’s intolerable to be around so Kobe has no interest in him when he knows they aren’t good enough anyway.”
The source added of Jackson: “He’s not Pat Riley. Doesn’t have his charm or charisma and Riley became a full-time exec at 58, not 68 like Phil wants.”
OK, then. This league source clearly isn’t a fan.
Others believe Jackson could hire people around him to help make smart decisions, but what then of current GM Steve Mills? Jackson isn’t going to report to him, he’d only report to Dolan.
“He can be effective because he will surround himself with basketball people,” a third league source said.
Whether Jackson ultimately decides that taking over a “clumsy” roster with no immediate cap space and no first-round pick is the right move, time will tell.
If he decides against, there is always fishing in Montana.
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.