The National Basketball Players Association fired back at New York Knicks president Phil Jackson on Saturday, issuing a strong statement of opposition regarding his recent statements regarding 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony.
“We voiced with the commissioner (Adam Silver) today our view on the inappropriate comments by Knicks president Phil Jackson,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement. “If players under contract cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards. The door swings both ways when it comes to demonstrating loyalty and respect.”
On Friday, Jackson – who had the final two seasons of his five-year deal picked up before season’s end – told reporters that Anthony — who has two years left on his contract, which has a no-trade clause — would be better off playing somewhere else.
"We've not been able to win with (Anthony) on the court at this time," said Jackson, who made a habit out of publicly insulting Anthony this season as his team went 31-51 and missed the playoffs by 10 games. "I think the direction with our team is that he's a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship."
Roberts, who was a renowned defense attorney before becoming the NBPA executive director in late July 2014, has shown a consistent willingness to have her players’ backs. This situation is no different, with Roberts well aware that players run the risk of being fined if they make public trade demands or share a desire to play elsewhere.
For Anthony’s part, he has taken the high road almost every time when the acrimony grew between him and Jackson. Yet not long after Jackson’s latest comments, Anthony posted a picture of actor Leonardo DiCaprio from the 2004 movie, The Aviator, with the caption, “REALLY” and laughing emoticons.
Yes, ‘Melo. This latest evidence of Knicks dysfunction, just like each and every one that came before, is entirely real.
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