Phil Jackson Explains Trade, Updates On Melo

by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

Moments prior to the 2014 NBA Draft, Knicks president Phil Jackson addressed the media to discuss Wednesday’s trade, Carmelo Anthony, and the draft process for his crew.

Jackson opened the media session by sharing his thoughts on the four players acquired from the Mavericks.  The main piece in the deal is veteran point guard Jose Calderon, who finished in the top five in 3-point shooting last year and is considered a heady floor leader.

“He’s got great control of the ball, pushes the ball up, accelerates it up the court.   He’s a very good 3-point shooter.  He organizes a team quite well.  We anticipate he’ll fit in with what we’re trying to do,” Jackson lauded.

While New York lost its anchor in the paint from a defensive point, the team replaced him with a shot-blocking 7-footer that will protect the rim.

“Samuel is a really good defender,” Jackson stated.  “He can replace Tyson’s defensive ability, maybe not the Defensive Player of the Year like Tyson was but he’s going to be a quality defender.”

The Knicks head man spoke highly of Wayne Ellington and the point guard out of Miami.  Last year’s No. 18 overall pick Shane Larkin is an intriguing prospect, which was evident in Jackson’s remarks on Thursday evening.

“Shane Larkin is a young player who really didn’t have a chance last year because of injury – a highly thought of young player – changes the speed on the floor.   I think he’s going to be effective doing that.  He’s kind of a change of pace guard.”

Jackson’s first significant roster move is a sign of a new direction.  He was candid and straight to the point when detailing the reasons for the trade that will re-shape the construction of the team for the short and long term.

“I think what we saw what we wanted to get accomplished was that we had to change some of the chemistry on this team and to do that we felt it important to get some new personnel, start with some character guys that could carry us forward.” 

He added, “We want to send the message to our players that we’re on the move and we’re making changes and we’re making changes to move forward in a direction where we want to go.”

Chandler earned a Defensive Player of the Year Award in New York and was a main cog on the 54-win team that reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2013 playoffs.  However, the center is entering the final year on his contract.

“We knew that was one of the things we didn’t want was another player go off, a quality player like that and not get anything in return so to speak,” Jackson confirmed. 

The trade, draft picks, and a whole host of factors will also play a role in Carmelo Anthony’s decision to either remain a member of the Knicks or ink a deal with a new team following the free agency moratorium period.  Jackson acknowledged his conversations with Anthony and categorized them as positive; “He saw the value in it and was appreciative of it.”

“I wouldn’t use the word consulted, I would use the word informed when we talked to Carmelo about this a couple weeks ago when we met with him,“ Jackson said.

There is no specific timeline for Anthony to make his decision, as the Knicks will continue to fill the coaching staff and roster for the Summer League team, which begins action on July 11 in Las Vegas.