- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Phil Jackson is considering several factors as he searches for the Knicks' next coach.
Age is one; Phil would prefer a young coach over a retread.
Offensive philosophy is another; Phil is believed to be searching for someone with a strong knowledge of the triangle.
But there’s another factor Phil may be considering during his coaching search: Carmelo Anthony's free agency.
Anthony is expected to opt out of the final season of his contract and test free agency this summer. The Knicks can pay him $33 million more than any other suitor. But Anthony has said his top priority is competing for an NBA title. So the Knicks’ next coach -- whomever he is -- will likely factor in Anthony’s decision.
We haven’t heard from Anthony since shortly after the regular season. So we don’t know how he felt about Mike Woodson's firing or the failed Steve Kerr courtship. And we haven’t yet heard his thoughts on Derek Fisher, the odds-on favorite to land the Knicks job.
But here's what we do know: One source familiar with Anthony’s thinking on the matter said recently that the star forward would “embrace” the opportunity to play for Mark Jackson.
In no way, the source stressed, does that mean Anthony wants to play only for Mark Jackson. It also doesn’t mean he would be uncomfortable playing for Fisher or any other candidate Jackson chooses to hire.
But he would be content with the idea of playing for Jackson, who led Golden State to back-to-back playoff appearances.
In talking to people around the NBA about Jackson and the Knicks, one point that’s been made again and again is the idea that Jackson would handle the Knicks’ locker room well.
The Knicks are coming off a 37-win season in which players at times questioned the coaching staff's approach. Some players also questioned their teammates' commitment to winning. Jackson gained a tremendous amount of respect from the players in the Warriors' locker room, many of whom publicly questioned the treatment of their coach while his job was in jeopardy.
So what does that mean for Jackson's candidacy for the Knicks job? Not much, it appears.
There has been no indication Phil Jackson has any plans to interview Mark Jackson at this point. ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein reported this month that the Zen Master would be "open" to talking to the ex-Warriors coach about the job, but it is unknown if there has been any contact between them yet.
Jackson would like to hire someone he can mold, similar to the path Pat Riley took with Erik Spoelstra in Miami. He’d also like someone with a strong knowledge of the triangle offense. Mark Jackson doesn’t fit either of those categories.
But if Phil Jackson is taking Anthony’s free agency into account while searching for the next Knicks coach, should he take a stronger look at Mark Jackson?
Question: Do you think Phil Jackson should consider Mark Jackson as the Knicks' next head coach? Should Phil, while searching for his coach, take into account whom Carmelo would be comfortable playing for?
Happy B-Day: Thursday is Anthony's 30th birthday. Anthony needs just 42 points to reach the 20,000-point plateau. In NBA history, only LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan scored more points before their 30th birthday, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... The Knicks and Bucks will play in London at the O2 on Jan. 15, the NBA announced Thursday. The game is part of NBA Global Games for the 2014-15 season. The Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves will play at the Mexico City Arena on Nov. 12.
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