Carmelo Anthony has heard Phil Jackson's critique of his game, but he says he doesn't take it personally.
In a 2012 interview with HBO, Jackson, the new president of the Knicks, said Anthony "has to be a better passer" and said "the ball can't stop every time it hits his hands."
Hours before Jackson finalized his deal with the Knicks, Anthony was asked about those comments at the team's practice facility.
"Maybe at that time I was shooting the ball a little bit too much. I really don't know what to say or how to respond to those comments. In the past I've heard Phil said some things about me. But I don't take it personal," Anthony said. "I don't take it no way. At that point he was just another guy who had an opinion. So I didn't really take it personal."
Anthony added that his approach to the game has evolved since Jackson's commentary in June 2012.
"Without a doubt," he said.
The relationship between Anthony and Jackson will be watched closely in the coming months. Anthony is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and test free agency this summer. If Jackson sees Anthony as a player that the Knicks can re-build around, the team will do everything it can to re-sign him. If not, Jackson may choose to let Anthony walk.
Anthony said Friday that he looks forward to talking with Jackson once he takes over control of the team. He can sign a contract with the Knicks that is one year longer and worth $33 million more than he can with another team.
"I'm hoping to sit down and just have a conversation. At the end of the day, it's Phil Jackson, man. I'm pretty sure all you guys would want to have a one-on-one with him. I'm the same," he said.
Anthony has said his top priority in free agency is to put himself in position to win a title. He was asked on Friday if he thought Jackson could turn the Knicks into title contenders.
"I'm hoping. I believe so," Anthony said. "But like I said, that's something I'll have to sit down and really figure out at the end of the season, think about it. At the end of the day when that time comes, we're talking about spending these next ... the end of my career in one place. When that time comes we'll discuss that."
Jackson's critique wasn't limited to Anthony. He also said the duo of Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire made for a "clumsy" roster.
"It's a little bit of a clumsy team," Jackson said. "They don't fit together."
Stoudemire, who has been a key to the Knicks' recent five-game winning streak, said he was excited to meet and talk to Jackson.
"I'm an avid fan of Phil Jackson. He has a winning pedigree that's unmatched," Stoudemire said. "So to have that type of leadership around would be awesome.
"I would love to sit down and just pick his brain about basketball and what it takes to win, and so that's going to be great for us."
In addition to Anthony's free agency and hiring a head coach, Jackson will have to decide how to handle Stoudemire's contract. The six-time All Star is in the fourth year of a five-year, $100 million deal that could be valuable on the trade market next season.