NEW YORK -- Phil Jackson believes Carmelo Anthony can take his game to “another level.”
How does Carmelo Anthony feel about that?
“We’re on the same page,” Anthony said on Wednesday, shortly before tip-off of the Knicks-Pacers game.
“I love it. I don’t think that was anything bad that he said,” Anthony said. “As an individual over the years, I think I’ve gotten better as a player, playing at a very high level as an individual. Like right now. For him to come in and say that, we’re on the same page. There’s a whole other level that I haven’t taken this to. I feel each season I’ve gotten better so just as Phil can teach, I can rely on him, talk to him, use him as a mentor to try and get to that next level.”
Jackson also said on Tuesday that Anthony, who plans to test free agency this summer, is in the team’s future plans.
“It’s good to hear that. I’m blessed and honored to hear that,” Anthony said. “I’m glad, I was hoping that I would be part of the future plans. I never once said that I wanted to leave New York or anything like that. The only thing I said was that I wanted to dabble in free agency that I could opt out and become a free agent. I’m excited about that. I’m excited about the opportunity to hopefully go forward with Phil.”
Anthony was also effusive about Jackson’s resume, which includes an NBA record 11 titles as head coach and two as a Knicks forward.
“That gives me a lot of excitement, hope and just being able to have him here with me right now, to know what his record stands for, what he’s able to do with the game of basketball, he’s a genius,” Anthony said. “He’s a basketball genius. He’s done it so many times, so many ways, in so many different situations. Hopefully he can do the same things here.”
The Anthony-Jackson dynamic will be an interesting one to watch in the coming weeks and months. Anthony has said that he plans to test free agency this summer. The Knicks can offer Anthony a contract one year longer and $33 million more than any other team. The team’s poor performance has led some to believe that Anthony will leave the Knicks.
The All-Star forward has said his priority is to re-sign with the Knicks but that he would like to sit down with Jackson and discuss the team's plans before making a decision.
He said on Wednesday that he hasn’t yet had any one-on-one conversations with Jackson.
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