Phil Jackson said in a press conference Friday that he believes Carmelo Anthony would be “better off somewhere else,” a statement which will surely lead many people to wonder whether the New York Knicks will trade their star forward.

Phil Jackson on Carmelo Anthony: ‘He Would Be Better off Somewhere Else’

The Knicks president addressed reporters at the team’s training center in Greenburgh, New York on Friday after giving exit interviews with his players, including Anthony, who has yet to decide whether to waive the no-trade clause of his contract during the off-season.

Like Jackson, Anthony — a 14-year NBA veteran and former No. 3 overall pick who will be 33 in May — has two years remaining on his five-year, $60 million deal.

Anthony, a former Denver Nuggets star, has played with the Knicks since 2011. The forward stated he wanted to hear what Jackson had to say before making any decision regarding his future.

“We faced resistance and we faced resistance at the top,” said Jackson, who has compiled an 80-166 record in three seasons as the Knicks’ president.

The Knicks are coming off yet another disappointing season, finishing 31-51 and 12th in the Eastern Conference to miss the 2017 playoffs. New York defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 114-113 in their season finale on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Before that, the Knicks had lost three straight games and eight of 11.

New York’s team also suffered a series of other problems this season, both on and off the court: former Knicks star Charles Oakley was arrested following a court-side altercation — which began after Oakley attempted to get close to owner James Dolan to speak with him — the team lost two off-season signings, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, to season-ending injuries, and Jackson used Twitter to criticize Anthony.

Jackson added that Anthony has “carried the basic load for this team.”

Before Friday, Jackson hadn’t spoken to local reporters who typically cover the Knicks in over six months.

“We’ve not been able to win with him on the court at this time and the direction of our team is that he is a player that would be better somewhere else, and using his talents somewhere else where he can win and chase that championship,” said Jackson of Anthony on Friday. “Right now, we need players that are really active, can play defensively and offensively. I told him this is not a situation where we’re going to dump you or anything like that. But we’re looking to improve ourselves however we can.”

The Knicks president insisted that his tweets and comments in general about Anthony were not intended as condemnations, but rather as simple coaching advice designed to help his players improve. In one interview this season, for instance, Jackson pointed to Anthony’s ball-stopping tendency and called it a hindrance to proper offensive performance.

“Holding the ball is not a criticism, that’s a fact,” he said. “A person has to be able to take that if they’re going to be coached, if they’re going to be part of the organization.”

Jackson also noted the fact that the Knicks lacked an “identity” as a problem this past season, perhaps referring to the absence of a characteristic that makes the Knicks unique compared to other NBA teams.

“That’s not a concern of mine,” he said. “What Jim Dolan and I talked about originally was trying to develop a process where we were developing players and had an identity. That’s one of the things that bothered us this year, was that we didn’t have an identity. It’s basically about ball movement, body movement, a style of play, all part of what we’re trying to do.

 “But we understand that a lot of these people are young people – it’s going to take three or four years for them to develop. So in that process it may be beyond my tenure here, in which the team becomes vibrant, competitive, has a chance to go beyond just being in the playoffs. That’s OK with me. I didn’t come here just to particularly win a championship but to do things that were directed by my instructions by Dolan – let’s have something that is identifiable in who we are and how we play.”
The Knicks president also relayed a soft endorsement of coach Jeff Hornacek, whom Jackson said he believed had lost control of the team and implied the season fell apart around Christmastime, when Jackson was in Los Angeles and the Knicks lost six consecutive games.
 WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 17: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks dribbles the ball against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on November 17, 2016 in Washington, DC.
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