Michele Roberts spoke candidly about the public comments Phil Jackson made about Carmelo Anthony during his press conference at the end of the New York Knicks' season.
“I think Phil was deliberately trying to shame ‘Melo out of the city,” she told The Vertical. Anthony has a no-trade clause, which means the Knicks need his approval to move on from him.
Roberts wanted the NBA to sanction Jackson as they have when players have made similar comments.
Roberts had immediately flashed back to September 2015, when Markieff Morris, then with the Suns, was fined $10,000 for tweeting, “My future is not in Phoenix,” after twin brother Marcus was dealt to Detroit. Commissioner Adam Silver’s office decided that was a “public statement detrimental to the NBA.”
When Jackson, speaking to New York’s beat reporters for the first time since September, said, among other things, that Anthony “would be better off somewhere else,” Roberts wondered what's the difference.
“I have players who are unhappy that this hasn’t been responded to by the league,” Roberts told The Vertical.
Anthony aside, that is the wider view, she said, “for when another GM gets it in his head that it’s OK to treat a player this way because Phil got away with it.”
Roberts is bothered by the double standard.
“Our players understand that they can privately complain about how a team is managed but they cannot do it publicly without being subject to sanction,” she said. “But it has to work both ways. If Phil tells ‘Melo in private that being in New York is not a good fit for him, that’s his right. But these comments were made in public, and it’s very disturbing because Phil gave him the no-trade clause and he has to respect it. He’s got to allow a player to make a decision for any reason – to win a ring, for money, home life, whatever.”