The New York Knicks are 16-14 this season as they've played with more joy and energy since trading Carmelo Anthony.
The issues plaguing Anthony and Phil Jackson appeared to spill over to the court.
"Everyone just seems a little lighter," one team source said. "The drama Phil created with Carmelo really affected the team and the joy factor."
The Knicks' decision-makers became universally convinced in the summer of 2016 that they were better off trading Anthony to build around Kristaps Porzingis.
"Everybody was on board to try and get rid of Carmelo," is how one source familiar with the matter described the sentiment. "The feeling in meetings was almost unanimous: They felt he just wasn't a winning player. They thought they could turn everything around if they just moved him."
According to sources familiar with his thinking, Anthony was aware of this and was one of the things that bothered him most about the Knicks' organization.
The beginning of the end of the relationship between Jackson and Anthony came in early December of 2016. Jackson said Anthony broke a team rule by sometimes holding on to the ball for too long. Anthony was incensed by the comments and they held a clear-the-air meeting.
"It just caused so much unnecessary drama for the team. It wore on them," one team source said of the episode. "At that point, everyone could feel Phil trying to push Carmelo out."