Carmelo Anthony indicated Friday that he’d prefer to hear criticism from within the team in private rather than having it stated publicly, as New York Knicks president Phil Jackson did this week, and that he doesn’t want any negativity to envelop the team.
“I just feel if it was something he wanted to address and had a stance on something, the door has always been open both ways,” Anthony told reporters Friday after the Knicks’ shootaround in Sacramento, California. “He always sends me a text or talks to me if it was any type of problem that was going on. I always welcome the conversation with open arms.”
Anthony also confirmed that his Instagram posts Thursday about ego and relationships and slings and arrows were a reference to Jackson’s critique that he holds on to the ball for too long.
“I think I said my part of it,” Anthony said of the Instagram posts. “I’m a big quote guy. Got a million quotes on my phone. Sometimes they come up at the right time.”
The Knicks (12-10) play the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
In an interview with CBS Sports Network that aired Tuesday, Jackson said Anthony can play the “role that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant played” in their teams’ triangle offenses, but he said Anthony sometimes breaks a team rule by holding on to the ball too long.
“Carmelo a lot of times wants to hold the ball longer than — we have a rule: If you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense. So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold it for three, four, five seconds, and then everybody comes to a stop,” Jackson said. “That is one of the things we work with. But he’s adjusted to [the triangle], he knows what he can do and he’s willing to see its success.”
Jackson’s comments were prompted by a question about whether Anthony can fit in the triangle offense. Jackson made it clear that he believes Anthony can.
“It’s a perfect spot for him to be in that isolated position on the weak side because it’s an overload offense and there’s a weakside man that always has an advantage if the ball is swung.”
Anthony didn’t want to discuss Jackson’s comments after Wednesday’s game.
“I was caught off-guard, not really knowing what was going on,” Anthony said.
But the veteran forward addressed the matter Friday after reading Jackson’s comments. He said that he understands criticism will come from fans and media but was surprised that this most recent critique came from within the team.
“I know it happens — it’s New York. It happens, and it’s something I know,” Anthony said.
But he said it wasn’t something he expected from within the team.
“Like I said, I didn’t talk to him,” Anthony said. “I really don’t know, kind of, where he was coming from with those comments. He wants to talk about it, cool. If he doesn’t, cool. In my eyes, it’s over to me.”
Anthony added: “At the end of the day we’re playing good basketball. That’s the only thing that matters at this point. So any negativity that’s coming towards me or towards the team, I don’t think we need it at this point.”
Anthony said that Jackson has never addressed Anthony’s tendency to hold on to the ball too long during their previous chats.
“Nothing specifically. Conversations are more about basketball and what we see about the team, the film and games in different situations. Nothing specific about me doing one thing or me doing another thing.”
He said he’s been receptive to Jackson’s suggestions during previous conversations.
“I sat there, listened,” Anthony said of his chats with Jackson. “If it was something good he had talked about, we talked about it. If it was something we could do better, I could do better, we talked about that. It’s always been good conversation when we talked. I don’t know what’s going on.”