The Legacy Jackson and Carmelo Left Behind in New York

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Carmelo Anthony & Josh Smith” by Mark Runyon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

For the first time in seven years the Knicks will open the season without Carmelo Anthony. They’ll also be without Phil Jackson, who resigned three years into his five year contract as the General Manager. The Knicks will look very different as they start to rebuild. The firing of Jackson came after three years of failure in New York. In Jackson’s three year stint as the Knicks General Manager, the Knicks recorded only 80 wins, while losing 166 games. He also publicly clashed with the Knicks second year star Kristaps Porzingis, as rumors swirled that he was trying to trade the young star. Jackson, like Melo, will be remembered in different ways. Each contributed to the franchise differently, whether it was in a positive or negative manner.

Jackson’s tenure has already been viewed by many as a failure. Many of the things Jackson needed to do to be successful, he was unable to. During his tenure, the Knicks were unable to lure any top free agents to pair with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Free agents didn’t even consider New York, for example, when Lamarcus Aldridge was a free agent, Jackson wanted him, but Aldridge wouldn’t even meet with the Knicks. Many free agents stayed away from the Knicks because of Jackson’s offensive scheme that he forced on his teams. Jackson used this method because it worked with previous teams he coached, such as the Chicago Bulls when he had Michael Jordan, and the Lakers when he coached Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.  Jackson will go down as one of the best coaches in NBA history. He has won 11 NBA championships as a coach. In New York it didn’t workout because he didn’t have the right personnel for his offense. Jackson’s lack of success will cause people to look back on his time with Knicks as largely a failure. It was not all his fault, but while he was in New York, Jackson didn’t make things easy on himself. He clashed with his players and coaches, creating a toxic environment.

Jackson was not the only important figure of the franchise to leave this offseason. On September 23rd, the Knicks dealt Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a draft pick. The deal ended Melo’s seven year tenure in New York. His tenure in New York will be viewed as complicated at best. He was a prolific scorer who put up impressive offensive numbers. In his seven years in New York, the Knicks made it to the playoffs three times, never advancing farther than the second round of the playoffs. The Knicks finished with a losing record with Carmelo. In his seven seasons with the team, the Knicks won 207 games while losing 269 games. Many people partly blame Carmelo’s style of play, as he is a player who throughout his career has been viewed as a ‘ball stopper’ because of his tendency to put up shots while being a liability on defense.

The Knicks overall record and lack of success can’t all be blamed on Carmelo. While he was in New York, management failed to bring in impact players through trade or free agency. Carmelo, like Jackson did not make things easy for himself. In 2014 he signed a deal to remain with the Knicks. However, he publicly questioned his own decision by saying he should’ve signed with another team multiple times. Both Jackson and Carmelo came to New York with big expectations after success with other teams. In the end, neither had much success, and that is what they’ll be remembered for. Their lack of championships in New York will in time define their legacy left behind.


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