Stephen A. Smith Unloads on Phil Jackson: ‘Officially on the Clock’ for Carmelo’s Future

During Thursday’s “First Take” on ESPN2, show co-host Stephen A. Smith was asked how concerned he was over New York Knicks star player Carmelo Anthony’s knee injury. Anthony, 30, will undergo season ending knee surgery to repair the dead, damaged or infected tissue. Anthony, who has been contemplating shutting himself down since tweaking his knee on February 9 in a game against Miami, participated in the NBA All-Star Game on February 15.

Stephen A. Smith is getting more concerned about Carmelo Anthony’s knee, and he questions what Phil Jackson was doing to allow him to continue playing on an injured knee.

“Well, I’m growing to be a bit more concerned than I originally was. Chauncey and I spoke about this several times over the last few weeks or so and obviously, you know, talking to Carmelo Anthony, you know, the concern appeared to be growing,” he said.

“Because if Carmelo Anthony’s knee was hurting,” he continued, “what was he doing playing games before the all-star game? What was he doing playing 30 minutes in the all-star game? And Phil tried to sit there and say it was his choice. No the hell it isn’t. He’s — he’s your player. He’s your player. You’re the one that signed off on giving him $124 million. Melo is not supposed to make that call. Phil Jackson was supposed to make that call. and so it’s bad enough that the New York Knicks are horrid, it’s bad enough that they look so despicable that it is worse than it has ever been, it’s bad enough that all of that is true, but then you go out and you trade Tyson Chandler — I mean, when you had — he had an expiring contract coming up, ok, and you could have just held onto him. It’s bad enough that you did so basically trading big for small in Jose Calderon who isn’t even better than Raymond Felton right now, but then on top of it all, Carmelo Anthony gets to make the call, not Phil Jackson?”

“What purpose is Phil Jackson serving?” Smith said. “You’re making $12 million! You’re getting paid to make this decision and you leave it up to Melo? I’m under the impression that the knee is sore. You might need to go in there and get it tweaked a little bit, just sit out the rest of the season; the season’s lost anyway, position yourself for the number one pick. But now we’re learning that this dude might be gone four to six months? How in the hell did Phil Jackson not see this? This is unbelievable to me. And it’s not his decision. Well, if that ain’t Phil Jackson’s decision, why are you there? Why are you there? what the — what purpose do you serve if you getting paid $12 million to be an executive for a — for a franchise that is beyond despicable at this point and the guy that you gave $124 million to, we come to find out that this brother is more hurt than we thought?”

“And you knew this and said it’s his decision?” Smith added. “I cannot believe this. Everybody needs to read Ian O’Connor’s column in ESPN New York right now. Phil Jackson is officially on the clock, man. This is unbelievable to me. I don’t understand it. Doesn’t make any sense to me but it is what it is. Melo right now, I’m a bit worried, Skip. I’m very worried because if Melo doesn’t come back next year, 100%, not only do we not have the star that we had — that we thought we’d have, but he’s on the books for $100 million over the next four years. This is worse than Allan Houston, potentially.”

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