New York Knicks president Phil Jackson took another public shot at star forward Carmelo Anthony in a tweet on Tuesday, when Jackson referenced a column published on Bleacher Report that was critical of Anthony.
Bleacher's Ding almost rings the bell, but I learned you don't change the spot on a leopard with Michael Graham in my CBA daze.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 7, 2017
The column details the Anthony-Jackson dynamic and questions Anthony's desire to win by concluding that Jackson and the Knicks, in part, "can't want for Anthony what he doesn't want deeply enough for himself."
Jackson references Michael Graham in his tweet, a talented player from Georgetown whom Jackson coached in the Continental Basketball Association. Graham and Jackson got into an argument in the middle of a game on New Year's Eve in 1986, according to a profile of Graham in The Washingtonian. Days after the incident, Jackson's team, the Albany Patroons, released Graham.
Jackson referenced Graham in his memoir, according to The Washingtonian, noting that he had difficulty reaching him.
"Nothing I said made any difference," Jackson wrote. "Whenever I tried to talk to him, his eyes would glaze over and he'd retreat to some dark inner corner nobody could penetrate."
That Jackson compared Graham to Anthony, whom Jackson re-signed to a five-year, $124 million contract in the summer of 2014, is jarring, particularly given its timing.
Graham told the New York Daily News that he'd advise Anthony to "stay true to yourself."
"I would tell Carmelo continue to play hard and play for the Knicks," Graham told the newspaper. "Phil Jackson doesn't own the team. Don't pay attention to that. I know it's hard. Just stay true to yourself."
Tuesday's tweet from Jackson is the latest public critique from Jackson of Anthony, a player whom the Knicks, at Jackson's request, have shopped to other teams in trade talks.
Jackson earlier this season said Anthony could play the same role that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant played in the triangle offense but that Anthony tends to hold on to the ball for too long at times.
Jackson and Anthony met to clear the air over that critique.
After the meeting, Anthony said that he wondered why Jackson always seemed to critique him when making public comments, something Jackson again did, subtly, on Tuesday.
Last month, Jackson confidant Charley Rosen wrote a column saying Anthony had worn out his usefulness in New York. Anthony took offense to the column's message and he and Jackson met again, with Jackson asking Anthony whether he wanted to remain a Knick, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.
Anthony, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, affirmed that he wanted to remain in New York.
But Jackson has tested the trade market for the 13-year veteran, with the Knicks reaching out to at least three teams to talk about deals to ship Anthony out of New York.
Stein and Shelburne reported last week that the Knicks continued to pursue Love, despite the Cavaliers' unwillingness to part with him. Love said Friday he believes he'll remain with the Cavs "for a long time."
Sources told Stein and Shelburne last week that the Cavaliers maintain an interest in Anthony but only if a deal can be struck without the Cavs surrendering Love. Anthony would need to waive his no-trade clause before any deal can be consummated.