Phil Jackson Provides an Update on Carmelo Anthony's Free Agency Status

by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

Today marks the first day for teams to officially ink free agents.  One of the biggest free agents on the market has yet to notify the Knicks of his desire to return to New York or sign with a new squad.  However, Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke about the recent developments following a Summer League practice in Las Vegas.

“I expected one yesterday, the day before yesterday, but no, we’re waiting,” Jackson joked in reference to hearing from Anthony and receiving a clear decision on his future.

Jackson added, “I felt really good about my conversation with Carmelo.  We really struck a chord.  The two of us feel really passionately about what we are trying to get accomplished.  It’s his ability to stay, be patient, lead, and watch us develop a winner.  There’s no instantaneous winner that we think that’s going to happen to the Knicks right now but we’re going to be a lot better.”

Anthony’s decision is the first step for New York in the free agent process.  Deal or no deal will create the future path for the Knicks following significant moves prior to the NBA Draft.  New York dealt Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler to Dallas in exchange for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and two draft picks that turned into Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

“We have alternative plans, plan B, C, D, E, and F but so far, we’re still in plan A and that’s the first kingpin that we have to have in this whole situation,” Jackson stated.

Shifting the focus from Anthony to another coveted free agent, Jackson provided some information on his former player, Pau Gasol.  The Spaniard has drawn interest from several teams and contenders over the course of the moratorium period.  Gasol has ties beyond Jackson.  He is a close friend to Calderon, a teammate on the Spanish national basketball team. 

“We would like to be in the ballpark of where he’s getting contracts offered,” Jackson answered.

Jackson also joked, “But we have what Pau needs: the United Nations.”

The former Lakers head coach told reporters he wished Gasol a happy birthday and said the 7-footer knows what is possible in the Big Apple.

"I think he would like to play with Carmelo and I think he would like to play for a winner,” Jackson said.  “We can’t guarantee that but with him, we guarantee a much better chance.”

The Knicks Summer League team will participate in their first contest on Friday at 4 PM Eastern.  Watch all the action on MSG Network.  Make sure to stay tuned to @nyknicks and Knicks.com for updates on free agency as well.