Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony said he wouldn’t accept an arrangement wherein 70-year-old team president Phil Jackson coaches the team on a part-time basis next season, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News writes. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com relayed that people close to Jackson raised the possibility that the Zen Master could offer to coach home games for the team next season and have Kurt Rambis coach on the road. “Nah, nah, nah. I don’t think that should be accepted,” Anthony said. “I wouldn’t accept that if that was the case. Phil is cool man. He doesn’t need to be on the sidelines no more. He put so many years into this game. He’s cool. He doesn’t need to be on the sideline. I don’t think he’s thinking about coming back down on the sideline. I hope not. Let him ride on out. Let him sit out and be the president.”
The veteran scorer doesn’t think Jackson could handle the rigors of returning to coaching on a full-time basis, nor does he believe there is any substance to the rumors the executive would consider returning to the sidelines, Isola notes. “He’s 72? He’s 70 years old. He actually looks pretty good for his age,” Anthony said. “But he doesn’t want to deal not just with the game of basketball but the strenuous schedule and having to mentally get focused for games and prepared for players and prepared for teams and sit on the sidelines. I don’t think he wants to deal with that. I think just the grind of the NBA season, I don’t think he wants to deal with that. Phil ain’t coaching no more man. So let’s [kill] that rumor. Phil ain’t coaching no more.”
Anthony also noted that while he is open to Rambis remaining coach, he does want Jackson to expand his search to consider other candidates as well, Isola relays. “I think you still have to go out there and at least listen to other candidates out there,” Anthony said. “I think you consider Kurt at that job,” Anthony said. “[Jackson] brought Kurt here for that reason if anything was to happen and the situation is here for him now. I think it’s just more of seeing how Kurt handles the situation right now, how the team does, how the team responds to Kurt.”
Jackson hasn’t officially committed to keeping Rambis beyond the season, but he has hinted that he’d like to see him earn the removal of his interim tag, which jibes with an earlier report that Jackson was pulling for Rambis to win the permanent job when he named him interim boss. The executive has yet to give any indication he is considering other candidates besides Rambis and many league executives believe he is the Zen Master’s one and only choice for the slot, Isola writes.
‘Melo believes he should have some input regarding the team’s next coach, but he doesn’t want to be viewed as the one responsible for Rambis not being retained, the Daily News scribe relays. It is unclear what effect keeping Rambis on as coach would have on Anthony’s willingness to waive his no-trade clause if the team approached him about a potential deal. Anthony has publicly expressed his desire to remain with the Knicks, though some have speculated that he would readily accept a deal that would allow him to join the Clippers and good friend Chris Paul in Los Angeles.