Isola: Carmelo Anthony may need Dolan's help for next coach


Carmelo Anthony is still the most powerful figure in the Knicks organization and can influence James Dolan to pick the guy he wants as the next coach.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony is still the most powerful figure in the Knicks organization and can influence James Dolan to pick the guy he wants as the next coach.

Must see television would be MSG Network taking us live into Phil Jackson’s exit meetings with the Knicks on Thursday morning. From the looks of things Arron Afflalo’s heart-to-heart with Phil will be an all-timer.

Phil can begin with saying “so you think you’re a premier shooting guard. Does the name Kobe ring a bell?” Please MSG Network, make this happen.

But the sit-down to end all sit-downs will be when and if Carmelo Anthony gets an audience with James Dolan, the boss of bosses who is facing the most critical summer as team owner since, well, last summer. And honestly, the summer before that and so on. You get the point.

Carmelo and Dolan, the Chairman of Madison of Square Garden, are still attached at the hip. Carmelo wouldn’t be here without Dolan and he wouldn’t have re-signed two summers ago without Dolan’s support. The no-trade clause the Knicks agreed to give Carmelo speaks volumes about how Dolan feels about him.

Because of that no-trade clause, Carmelo remains the most powerful figure in the franchise not named Dolan. If Carmelo wants to leave — which he doesn’t — Dolan would honor his request. The question, however, is would Dolan honor Carmelo’s request if Carmelo wants an upgrade on the bench.

Jackson wants Kurt Rambis to return as head coach. He’s made that pretty clear. Rambis shares his vision, runs the triangle and allows Jackson to be involved in coaching the team from a distance. Derek Fisher resisted Jackson’s involvement and was eventually fired.

Dolan must decide if he should get involved or continue to let Phil Jackson run the team from afar.Frank Franklin II/AP

Dolan must decide if he should get involved or continue to let Phil Jackson run the team from afar.

If Carmelo supports Rambis having the interim tag removed he’s keeping that a secret. Carmelo has had ample opportunity to endorse Rambis but instead suggested a full blown coaching search. What does that tell you?

For the second time in three days, Anthony said he’d like to have his voice heard this summer. For most players, that’s code for “hire the coach I want to play for.”

A source close to Anthony insists that his preferred choice is Tom Thibodeau, a coach Jackson seems to have no interest in speaking to. Remember that the next time someone says or reports that Phil is just doing his due diligence. Yeah right.

Maybe Carmelo would be fine with Mark Jackson, Scott Brooks, David Blatt or even Jeff Van Gundy. Either way, he wants input.

And that puts Dolan in an interesting position. Dolan was never crazy about Jackson hiring Steve Kerr and thus the Knicks low-balled Kerr and he eventually landed in Golden State. That’s on Dolan.

Anthony wants his voice to be heard.

Anthony wants his voice to be heard.

Jackson’s second choice, Fisher, also had zero head coaching experience. It took Fisher until his second season to get comfortable and eventually had the Knicks at 22-22. It is only after the fact that we are learning, mostly from what Rambis says about Fisher, that the head coach and associate head coach Jackson hired were not on the same page. That’s on Jackson, with an assist from Rambis, who was hired to help Fisher.

Now Dolan has to decide whether to get involved again or leave it to Jackson to pick the next coach. It has been reported that Rambis may stay on as assistant coach if he doesn’t land the head job. But considering the Fisher-Rambis fallout it’s hard to imagine that a new coach would want to inherit Rambis.

If Dolan insists that Jackson conducts a coaching search that could be nothing more than a dog and pony show disguised as due diligence. But if Jackson does hire someone other than Rambis or another one of his guys, Brian Shaw for example, then it’s a clear sign that Jackson has been stripped of some of his power.

The Knicks could sell Mark Jackson as the franchise bringing home one of their own. Brooks is the guy that could help them land Kevin Durant. Blatt would be the Princeton guy. Steve Mills went to Princeton, Phil Jackson’s best friend, Bill Bradley, went to Princeton and Phil thinks he’s smarter than everyone. That would be the intellectual choice.

Van Gundy is the people’s choice, Thibodeau the popular choice and believed to be Carmelo’s guy. You can make a case for any of them. But it would show that Dolan had to step in and set Phil straight.

And when you think about what Carmelo said the other day in Indiana maybe he was asking his boss to do just that.



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