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Phil Jackson challenges Knicks players to 'unite in this change'

Phil Jackson faces the tough challenge of trying to bolster a roster to win now while keeping his options open for a long-term rebuild. Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

Knicks president Phil Jackson seemed to publicly challenge his team via Twitter on Thursday night.

"We have brought change to the Knicks team. The real dimension of change is how much the players [want] to unite in this change. It's not about bonding and being friends, it's about joining in the effort of playing HARD on every effort," Jackson wrote.

He ended with the hashtag #respect, maybe sending a message to his players to respect the game.

The implication in Jackson's tweets, of course, is that effort was an issue at times last season during the club's 32-50 campaign. Any guesses as to whom Jackson's message is targeting would be speculation.

Jackson mentioned after the firing of coach Derek Fisher last season that some players had lost their spirit amid all the losing. But the team president has overhauled the roster this offseason, adding veterans in Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee.

Some of the new Knicks have gotten together for workouts recently.

Rose and Jennings worked out with Kristaps Porzingis and Sasha Vujacic in Los Angeles this week, according to trainer Rob McClanaghan.

McClanaghan posted a photo of Rose and Porzingis working out in a group setting in a gym in Los Angeles.

Players work out together in the offseason all the time, of course. But this particular grouping is noteworthy because the chemistry between Rose, Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony is one of many important elements for New York in the coming season.

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has said that he hopes Rose can get Porzingis easier looks at the basket; he also envisions Rose and Porzingis developing as a viable pick-and-roll combination.

Rose has been plagued by knee injuries in recent seasons but finished last season relatively healthy. For what it's worth, the point guard looked "explosive" in the recent workouts in Los Angeles, according to someone familiar with the matter.