EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Knicks president Phil Jackson criticized former players Shane Larkin and Andrea Bargnani in an ESPN.com series chronicling Jackson's first season as Knicks president.
On Monday, both players, now with the Brooklyn Nets, responded.
Larkin, about whom Jackson said had “tiny hands," said: “I was going to palm a ball and put it on Instagram for him, but I felt like that wasn’t the right move. I never met a man so concerned with another man’s hands, but it’s all good. I don’t have [anything] but love for Phil Jackson and the whole organization. They’re good, but I’m a Brooklyn Net, and that’s all I want to talk about.”
Bargnani, whom Jackson called a "big tease," said: “I’m gonna say the answer I said a few weeks ago when I was with the [Italian] national team: Right now I’m focused on the Nets training camp. I don’t want this to be a distraction. I want to focus on what’s next for me, not what’s in the past. Last year was a hard season because of the record, we all know the record and for me personally I had many injuries. It was very frustrating because there wasn’t an outlet for me when I was injured.”
The two former Knicks each signed a two-year deal with the Nets this past offseason.
“He's old school," Larkin said of Jackson. "He's blatant about what he says, and he knows what he wants, and obviously he has the jewelry to say what he's got to say. So he's proven that he's a great leader, and if that's what he feels about me, that's what he feels about me. I'm not on his team [any] more, so he [doesn’t] have to worry about it.
Bargnani had said he would respond to the criticism, but declined to on Monday.
“I don’t like to talk about other people in the media,” he said. “I’m focused on the training camp and the Nets. I can talk about myself as a player and about how much I love basketball, how it’s my passion, it’s my life. I can talk about my work ethic and what I do. So, that’s it."
Both Larkin and Bargnani are looking forward to fresh starts with the Nets. Larkin is hoping to thrive in their pick-and-roll offense the way he did in college at Miami. Over the past four seasons, Bargnani has missed 175 games because of injury.