Knicks' Jackson "Vows To Relinquish" Team's CAA Ties In Advance Of Anthony Free Agency
Knicks President Phil Jackson "engaged in his first informal sit-down with the media on Thursday, divulging his thoughts" on several topics, including the team's ties to CAA, according to Chris Herring of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Jackson "vowed to relinquish the team's close ties" with CAA, "which has appeared to hold a considerable amount of sway with the Knicks' front office as it tries to persuade Carmelo Anthony, a CAA client and free-agent-to-be, to re-sign with the club." Knicks G J.R. Smith, C Andrea Bargnani and coach Mike Woodson are "also represented by the agency." Jackson said, "Part of my role in coming here was, 'Is there anything that would inhibit me from having the freedom to work with all the people in the NBA that represent players?' And there is nothing. So I know there are connections, and there are friendships, and whatever there's been in the past. But those don't weigh on me" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/4). NBCSPORTS.com's Kurt Helin wrote CAA has "long had special sway over the Knicks organization." If you "listen to the scuttlebutt around the league," Bargnani "is a Knick because he is a CAA/Leon Rose client" just like Anthony. Jackson's declaration -- "along with keeping owner James Dolan out of basketball decisions -- are two keys to turning the franchise around." Helin: "It behooves any team president/GM to stay on good terms with agents and agencies, there certainly are ways they can help each other out. But you can’t let it effect your decision making" (NBCSPORTS.com, 4/3).
FIRST ORDERS OF BUSINESS: Jackson said that he has "spent his first few weeks on the job mostly in assessment mode, as he anticipated would be the case." He said that he talks daily with GM Steve Mills, has "had a few 'getting-to-know-you' chats" with Anthony and "met with the team's scouts this week to begin discussing his vision for the future." On Long Island, Jim Baumbach notes Jackson "doesn't expect to sit still this offseason" despite the team's "salary-cap issues." Jackson: "There's always ways to make moves. Even though the limitation and flexibility is limited, but we anticipate we're going to try and improve the team at every position we can" (NEWSDAY, 4/4).