Jackson, who was the Knicks’ President from March 18, 2014 to June 28, 2017, did everything he could to alienate Anthony and all of his antics worked.
Phil Jackson publicly and privately bashed Carmelo Anthony
It was clear as day that Phil Jackson hated having Carmelo Anthony on the Knicks. The future Hall of Famer wasn’t a fan of running Jackson’s triangle offense and took exception to a story written by a Jackson confidante that suggested his time with the Knicks should be over.
In an online piece for FanRag, Charley Rosen–a long-time writer and former assistant coach under Jackson–wrote: “The only sure thing is that Carmelo Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York.” Everyone knew Jackson was using Rosen to bash Anthony through the media.
In December of 2016, Jackson told CBS Sports that Anthony broke a team rule by holding on to the ball for too long. Four days after Jackson’s comments, he and Anthony met in private, but nothing was resolved. Members of the Knicks were puzzled as to why Jackson was publicly criticizing his best player.
Sensing that his relationship with Phil Jackson was unsalvageable, Carmelo Anthony began to take the Zen Master’s mindful meditation sessions less seriously.
Carmelo Anthony took naps during Phil Jackson’s meditation sessions
During the 2016-17 season, Phil Jackson would lead meditation sessions. Carmelo Anthony, tired of Jackson’s larks, used those sessions to catch up on his sleep, per Ian Begley of ESPN.
“As Jackson’s relationship with Anthony deteriorated, so did Melo’s commitment to mindfulness training,” Begley wrote. “In the final sessions, witnesses said, it became common for Jackson to tell the players to open their eyes at the end of the exercise, only to find Anthony’s head tilted back, eyes still shut, seemingly snoozing.”
Anthony wasn’t going to stand back and let Jackson slander his name left and right without doing something of his own. The Knicks missed the playoffs in 2016-17 despite Anthony averaging 22.4 points per game and Derrick Rose putting up 18.0 points.
After the season, Jackson said Anthony was better off playing for a different team. The 10-time All-Star waived his no-trade clause and was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on September 25, 2017. Anthony finished his Knicks career with averages of 24.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in 412 games.
Before Carmelo Anthony was traded, Phil Jackson and the Knicks parted ways in June of 2017. He may be the best head coach in NBA history, but Jackson was terrible as the Knicks’ President.
Melo struggled with the Thunder and Rockets before rejuvenating his career with the Blazers
Carmelo Anthony struggled with the Thunder in 2017-18 and only played in 10 games with the Houston Rockets in 2018-19. At one point, it looked like Melo would never play in the NBA again.
However, the Portland Trail Blazers signed Anthony during the 2019-20 season, giving the former superstar a chance to rejuvenate his career. Anthony put up 15.4 points per game for Portland in 58 games and helped the team reach the 2020 playoffs.
In the offseason of 2020, Carmelo Anthony re-signed with the Blazers, as he wanted to remain loyal to the franchise. He’s coming off the bench for Portland in 2020-21, but Anthony is still one of the league’s best scorers.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.