Few know Carmelo Anthony as well as George Karl does.
And Melo’s former coach wonders if Phil Jackson would keep Anthony if the Zen Master takes over the Knicks’ front office. ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd asked Karl if the Knicks keep Anthony while discussing Jackson potentially taking over the Knicks.
Karl, who coached Anthony from 2005-11, says Anthony is just one of many major decisions Jackson would have to make if he joins the Knicks. Cowherd asked Karl if Anthony and Kobe Bryant have similar traits as prolific scorers.
“Yeah, but Kobe has an ability to lift a team on his shoulders on a yearly basis, [on] the playoff basis,” Karl said. “Melo has done it over three months or four months. He will be the best player in basketball for six weeks. Kobe has been the best player in basketball for all year and been the best player in basketball in a playoff series, in a championship, winning a championship ring.
“There’s a little difference there,” Karl continued. “There is a different stage of regular season and playoffs. [But] Kobe at times has selfish basketball play and has a tough ego and attitude to handle.”
If Jackson joins the Knicks, Karl says the former Lakers and Bulls coach should be committed to being in New York a lot initially.
“I think he’s got to be there for it to be successful,” Karl said. “At least the first year he has to be there 75-80 percent of the time. You are the face. You are winning the press conference because of Phil Jackson, you are exciting your fans because of Phil Jackson.
“And if he’s not there, the people will know that,” Karl added. “The people will feel that he is not in the building enough, the players will feel that he is not in the locker room… the thing I like about the decision if they hire him would be I think he understands team. He understands a unity of an organization is important to be successful. He understands that there is a chemistry and character to a championship team as much as there is a lot of talent to a championship basketball team.”
But Jackson will also have some major decisions to make such as whether to re-sign Anthony and build around him.
“The thing I don’t like about the situation for him is they got some big-time decisions,” Karl said. “[Hiring a] coach, Carmelo, salary cap, how you’re going to change the team, what’s the philosophy going to be.
“And New York doesn’t want a three or four-year plan. They want maybe a one-and-a-half-year plan.”