Phil Jackson: Melo can be even better

Updated: March 19, 2014, 1:47 AM ET
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- New Knicks president Phil Jackson says free agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony is in the organization's future plans.

"No doubt," said Jackson, who was officially announced as the team's president at a news conference Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. "There's no doubt about Carmelo being one of the top scorers in the league, maybe the best individual isolation player in the game. I have no problems with committing to saying Carmelo is in the future plans.

"I think there are a number of things I see Carmelo doing as he moves forward. And I think I was on record saying a year ago that I think Carmelo, as great a player as he is, still has another level he can go to. And I hope together, with the team we create, he can get there."

Anthony has said he will opt out of the final year of his contract and test free agency this summer. He can sign a deal with the Knicks that is one year longer and worth $33 million more than any pact he can sign with another team.

The All-Star forward has said his priority is to re-sign with the Knicks but that he would like to sit down with Jackson and discuss the team's plans before making a decision.

Some have suggested that Anthony's isolation-heavy approach will not blend well with Jackson's preferred offense, which is predicated on ball movement and constant player motion.

Jackson, though, said Tuesday he could see Anthony fitting into his triangle offense.

"[Carmelo] showed in the last Olympics that, coming off the bench and playing a role as a bench player on a magnificent team that won a gold medal, that he can play a role if he has to play a role," said Jackson, who will spend time in New York and Los Angeles as Knicks president. "I think he's a basketball player, and that's what players want to be able to do. They want to be able to cut, to pass, to be in different spots on the floor. To attack or to play. I think that Carmelo will be just fine. I see no problem in it."

It should be noted that both Jackson and owner James Dolan made it clear that Jackson will have full control over the Knicks.

"Phil Jackson is in charge of all basketball decisions. Period," Dolan said in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show."

In recent days, Anthony lauded the Knicks' decision to add Jackson.

"I'm a chess player. That was a power move right there. You know what I mean?" Anthony said Saturday. "So now we're going to see what's the next move, but that was a great power move."

Anthony said Monday that he is willing to make changes to his game if Jackson believes the prolific scorer has to do so to win an NBA title.

"I'm willing to do whatever," Anthony said after practice Monday. "As long as it's gonna put me in a position to win, I'm willing to do whatever. I'm not sold or stuck on my play.

"What I've been able to do these past 10-11 years has gotten me at where I am right now. If Phil wants to come in and change that this late in my career, if it's going to help me win a championship, I'm with it."

Anthony has said his top priority in free agency is to put himself in position to win his first NBA title. On Monday, he praised Jackson's winning pedigree.

"As far as knowing what it takes to win, Phil is the best to ever do it," Anthony said. "So for me to be able to have the opportunity and have him by my side, for him to teach me, you know, because I'm still willing to learn the game of basketball. And I haven't won anything [and] he's won a lot. I can learn a lot from him and his system, things that he wants to incorporate here. I'm hoping and praying this all works."

The Knicks (27-40) clearly aren't title contenders this season. They have won six straight but are four games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 15 games to play.

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