The triangle, the presence of Carmelo Anthony, and the past success that Phil Jackson‘s staff has enjoyed will be the selling points for the Knicks in free agency this summer, Jackson said today to reporters, including Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link). Of course, that staff didn’t have much success this season, a 17-65 debacle for New York, and Jackson acknowledged that he doesn’t expect to suddenly win a title next year, notes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). Instead, the Zen Master is shooting for a playoff berth and a winning record, as Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal relays (Twitter link). Here’s more from his chat about his plans for achieving that:
- The Knicks will look for defenders and a player who can get to the basket, Jackson said, as Begley notes in a pair of tweets. Jackson also suggested that the team sorely needs a rim-protecting big man, Herring adds (on Twitter).
- Jackson suggested he would be more likely to trade New York’s first-round pick if it falls to fifth, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link). There’s a 12.3% chance the Knicks end up with the fifth pick after the lottery, as the odds show. Should the Knicks keep their pick, a big man will be the priority, Jackson said, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Jackson also indicated that he likes the depth of the draft through the top 15 prospects, as Zagoria passes along (Twitter link).
- Regardless of how the draft shakes out, Jackson doesn’t expect to end up with an immediate game-changer, as Herring relays (Twitter link). “[Our pick] isnt going to step on the court immediately and be an MVP,” Jackson said. “So a lot of our contingencies are on free agency. They have to be.”
- The Knicks may have to “sit on our hands” for a year as their top draft pick develops, Jackson suggested, as Zagoria chronicles in a full piece. “So we’re certainly not going to walk away from a situation like that even if it takes the fact that we might have to sit on our hands for a year in the growth process and watch Carmelo come back off an injury and then regenerate for another year after this, provide more support as we go forward,” Jackson said.
- Jackson seemed to convey a measure of displeasure about Anthony’s decision to play in the All-Star Game despite the ailing knee that kept him out the rest of the season, as Herring relays (Twitter links). Anthony “pushed himself” to play, Jackson said, according to Herring. “[Him playing in the All-Star Game] wasn’t that important to us, but it was important to him,” Jackson said.
- Jackson responded affirmatively when asked if he’d be OK with merely setting the foundation for the Knicks to win a championship rather than winning a title during his time with the team, Herring tweets. Jackson just completed the first year of a five-year contract, and there have been hints that he might not stay the entire term.