Phil Jackson: Knicks looking for meaningful trade as deadline nears

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said he hopes to make an impactful trade before the NBA's Feb. 18 deadline.

"We're looking to improve this ballclub, there's no doubt," Jackson said Monday during a news conference on the firing of Derek Fisher. "We know that we have some good guys. The chemistry is pretty good. The talent can still be better. It always can, so we're looking."

Jackson noted there are some players on the roster who would be off-limits in trade talks. Specifically, he mentioned Carmelo Anthony and rookie Kristaps Porzingis.

"I think it is a known fact that Carmelo has a no-trade [clause]," Jackson said. "And we like Kris. Everybody likes Kris. There's not too many people that ever would say that I would trade [Kristaps]."

Anthony could elect to waive his no-trade clause. But sources familiar with Anthony's thinking said the past month that he had no plans to waive the clause.

The Knicks had been focused in recent weeks on obtaining a point guard, according to sources familiar with the team's thinking. The past month, members of the Knicks' front office made inquiries with the Atlanta Hawks about point guards Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder, according to league sources familiar with the dialogue. The talks with Atlanta did not progress, due to New York's lack of assets, sources said.

The Knicks have also been monitoring the play of Detroit guard Brandon Jennings, who returned from an Achilles injury in late December, sources said.

Jackson acknowledged when speaking to the media Monday that he didn't have many attractive trade pieces.

"Do we sit in a really favorable spot? Probably not," he said. "We don't have a tremendous amount of favorable trade items that are on our roster."

But Jackson made it clear he would like to make a trade to improve the roster. The Knicks have lost nine of 10 and were five games behind the eighth-place Detroit Pistons entering play Monday.

"Like any team looking to improve themselves, we are open to discussion," Jackson said. "We have to be. That is just the way of the nature of the game."

Jackson also addressed the lingering soreness that Anthony has been feeling in his surgically repaired left knee. Jackson said the team will monitor the injury and might limit Anthony's minutes to keep him healthy.

"We need to balance all that out," Jackson said. "His playing time, how much he has to rely on getting therapy, staying off, practicing, not practicing and then his time on the floor itself and what his role is going to be."