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George Karl: ‘I don’t think Melo is a Phil Jackson type of player’

Mar 11, 2014, 8:13 PM EST

george karl Getty Images

As the reports continue to roll in indicating that Phil Jackson will at some point soon accept a prominent position within the Knicks front office, his first order of business will be deciding what to do with Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony, as you may have heard, can (and likely will) opt out of the final year of his contract this summer to become an unrestricted free agent. It doesn’t mean that leaving New York is his intention, and in fact, he can sign a longer deal to stay on a max contract than he can anywhere else.

But while Anthony is one of the league’s elite scorers and is certainly a star capable of being the face of the franchise, the Knicks have a real decision to make regarding whether or not to re-sign him — one that will fall squarely  on Jackson’s shoulders. And Anthony’s former head coach in Denver, George Karl, doesn’t see the two as necessarily being a match.

From Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York:

ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd asked Karl if the Knicks keep Anthony while discussing Jackson potentially taking over the Knicks.

“To me, when you ask me that question, I don’t think Melo is a Phil Jackson type of player,” Karl said on “The Herd.” “That would be my answer to that.”

Karl, who coached Anthony from 2005-11, says Anthony is just one of many major decisions Jackson would have to make if he joins the Knicks.

Karl’s comments are interesting here, but they don’t come as much of a surprise.

The reality is that no one knows what a Phil Jackson type of player is in terms of his vision from the front office, which is likely very different from the one he might have if he were once again patrolling the sidelines.

It could have been a dig at Jackson for only winning titles with some the game’s greatest all-time players on his rosters, or it could have similarly been a shot at Anthony in trying to say that he isn’t at that level of being able to carry a team all by himself.

Both are valid points, but it’s a pretty veiled reference to be able to take too much out of it. What we do know is that Jackson will have a decision to make where Anthony is concerned if in fact he finalizes an agreement to join the Knicks, so we’ll find out exactly the type of player he prefers soon enough.

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