Call it the skeptic in me, but I have always felt that Phil Jackson’s personal goal — not James Dolan’s — as president of the New York Knicks was to free the team of more than losing and bad contracts. The Zen Master wants to rid the city of Carmelo Anthony’s big money. Why else would he try to talk his best player into only opting in for a year while constantly tossing out slick comments that he knows would irritate today’s sensitive stars?
You know, all the talk of taking less money, having Derek Fisher impress him by showing up wearing his championship rings and stressing that he’s “not losing sleep” over Anthony’s free agent decision.
Those pokes and comments aren’t exactly what this generation of coddled stars tend to react positively to. Hence why Miami Heat fans were visibly nervous after Pat Riley’s 55-minute callout session last week.
But due to limited options, the team in South Beach could end up all right, while the speculation is that Jackson’s talk continues to push Anthony to Chicago — strictly to clear out the roster for the 2015 free agent rush. However, according to the New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence, Derrick Rose could nudge him away:
“Derrick Rose hasn’t called Anthony once and isn’t expected to do any recruiting when the Bulls make their run at the Knicks’ top scorer… According to sources close to Kevin Love, Rose’s preference is for the Bulls to work out a deal as soon as possible for Minnesota’s All-Star forward because he sees Love as more of a team player than Anthony.”
This would explain why there were suddenly reports about the Chicago Bulls trying to trade for a role player that would fit better with Love, like Arron Afflalo. But regardless of the team’s focus, Rose will never be of any help.
It’s well documented that the point guard will not even attempt to recruit players to his team — unless their name is Kirk Hinrich. I like to call this practice in not sharing the spotlight, “the no-star zone.” And that’s where Miami can slide in like a thief in the night, if they really want to.
If LeBron James and Dwyane Wade feel the need to bring Anthony into their winner’s circle, they can and will circumvent the league’s tampering rules by giving him a call to pitch how they can maneuver to fit themselves under the Heat’s salary cap.
This may seem like cheating, but if Riley cannot talk to other team’s free agents until Jul. 1, why not have his guys put the bug in their ear? Especially when Rose will not do it and the Daily News reports that Melo won’t return Joakim Noah’s phone calls.
In the words of Riley, getting a fourth star like Anthony is “a pipe dream, but everybody thought 2010 was a pipe dream, too.”