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#pounditSaturday, May 21, 2022

Phil Jackson: All-Star game was important to Carmelo Anthony, not Knicks

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Had the New York Knicks known in November what we all know now, they likely would have shut Carmelo Anthony down long before February. But apparently Carmelo was gung-ho to play in the All-Star Game.

Phil Jackson spoke on Tuesday about how he had to reassure Anthony about the current state of the team over a dinner in London in mid-January. Part of the conversation dealt with Carmelo’s recurring knee problems.

“That was a moment we could really discuss: Here’s where we are now. Here’s your situation as I see it,” Jackson said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “It clarified a lot of things for him. That he was playing limited.”

The Knicks fell to 5-36 after losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in London, so Jackson was basically telling Anthony to fell free to have his knee surgery sooner rather than later. The season was lost at that point, but Carmelo wanted to play in the All-Star Game, which was on Feb. 15.

“He was trying to push himself to the All-Star Game. That wasn’t very important to us, but it was important to him,” Jackson explained. “But the season was something we probably had to give up on. And to do that he’s going to have to retreat from that, ‘I have to be on the court and be on the brunt of the operation.’ That was a relief for him.”

Jackson didn’t appear to be taking a shot at Anthony in any way, but that doesn’t exactly reflect well on Carmelo that playing in an exhibition trumped having surgery sooner and getting back to full health as quickly as possible.

If you remember, there was a time when Anthony was supposedly willing to waive his no-trade clause if Jackson wanted to deal him to a contender. That didn’t happen, which leads us to believe the relationship between Phil and Carmelo is still fine. Should the Knicks find themselves with a record of 5-36 halfway through next season, that will likely change in a hurry.

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