Regional Sports

Melo problem is new general manager’s first task

In the wake of Phil Jackson’s dismissal as the Knicks president of basketball operations, Carmelo Anthony will be working under a fourth team president in his Knicks tenure. He is already on his fifth coach in his Knicks tenure.

This sums up the Anthony era with the Knicks. It hasn’t been a success when a star player has played for many coaches and team presidents in a span of few years.

It’s funny coaches and executives come and go at Madison Square Garden. Yet Anthony stays despite being a constant of the Knicks.

Once again, Anthony gets his way of forcing an executive out of town. He had no interest in working with an executive that won 11 championship rings as coach of the Bulls and Lakers. He wanted to play iso ball since that is his strength instead of playing the triangle offense, which requires him to get everyone involved.

Yes, Jackson deserves his fair share of blame for not working well with Anthony, but the Knicks star shouldn’t come off looking good, either. Not when he had issues with previous Knicks coaches such as Mike D’Antoni, Derek Fisher and Jeff Hornacek, who wanted him to get his teammates involved. Not when he had issues with couple of executives in Donnie Walsh and the Zen Master since he couldn’t trust them.

Anthony has not been held accountable since the day he got here. He has been coddled like a high school kid. At some point, when will Knicks owner James Dolan be fed up? For all the nonsense he has brought to the Knicks, he hasn’t backed it up with wins and great performances in his Knicks tenure. Honestly, he is no better than Stephon Marbury.

Here’s what Dolan and whoever the next Knicks president should do with Anthony: Either release him or demand that he starts listening to the coaches and get his teammates involved. He has to start being treated just like anyone else that wears the Knicks uniform. Good luck to doing either of that.

Something has to be done one way or another. No organization in sports would tolerate a professional athlete demanding his head coach and his general manager to go. Only the Knicks do that. It’s no wonder why they have been losers under Dolan. The inmates run the asylum whether it’s Marbury or Anthony.

Untii Dolan or the new executive finally gets through to Anthony, everything is going to be more of the same.

In a perfect world, Anthony would be traded or get his buyout. Neither will happen. No team wants a player who can’t play defense, not to mention he can’t shoot anymore. The Knicks are not going to give a buyout to Anthony. Oh and he has a no-trade clause, and he has no interest in playing anywhere else.

The Knicks will have to make due with Anthony for two more years until he becomes a free agent. It’s a challenging task for a new executive that wants nothing to do with him. He wants to build the team from the ground up, and that means getting rid of the Knicks star that would change the culture.

Anthony knows he is done as a Knick after two years. The Knicks are not throwing money at a guy who has seen his best days. Plus, they want to move on from him.

The question is how both will make the most of those two years. It’s not going to be easy. There are going to be more losses. There is going to be more drama on Anthony’s end. There is no question the new executive has to find a way to navigate through this, so he is going to earn every penny of his contract.

This is not ideal for Knicks fans, either. They have to put up with this for the next two years. It’s bad enough they have to tolerate more losing than they should. Now, they have to watch a player basically play out his contract before they can wait for some good news.

Of course, Anthony can be a role model to young players by playing defense and making shots to win games. The problem with that thinking is he can’t do either of that. At 33 years old, it’s hard to teach a guy new tricks when he is set in his own ways, not to mention his best days are behind him.

For anyone that thinks Anthony is going to be a mentor to Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Ntilikina, think again. Mentoring other players is the least of his priorities. It’s not something he ever wanted to do, and he’s not going to start now for the new executive or for anyone.

Melo will just be Melo. He will play for his stats, and he will live the good life by hanging out at nightclubs after games. Winning be damned.

Anthony will not be a drawback for the Knicks getting any new executive. Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin already informally interviewed for the job. Kentucky coach John Calipari has interest in the job despite him denying it on Twitter. Isiah Thomas is always available, even if he said he is not interested in the job, which we all know is a bunch of baloney.

But if anyone thinks the Knicks are going to be turned around quickly, don’t. It will not work as long as Anthony is around. Not when he insists on being a ball hog and showing zero regard to defense.

The new Knicks general manager has to hope and pray that Anthony somehow makes the most of his two years. He also has to hope and pray that he can somehow get through to that petulant player when it comes to being accountable.

If both don’t happen, the new general manager and whoever the next coach will join Anthony out of the Garden in two years.




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