That's why James Dolan and the New York Knicks thought he'd be the perfect guy to fix the mess they had gotten into. They hired him as an executive and instead, he tried to impose his system on coach Derek Fisher and mishandled his personnel as well.
The biggest issue from The Zen Master's time at the Madison Square Garden was clearly his poor relationship with Carmelo Anthony. He didn't get along with the team's biggest star and pretty much turned the media and the narratives against him.
Phil Jackson Says Carmelo Anthony Didn't Know How To Be A Leader
And now, years after their backs-and-forths, Jackson finally admitted in an interview for the Curious Leader podcast that he didn't care for Carmelo and thought he wasn't much of a leader:
“Carmelo, I think, wanted to be a leader, but I don’t think he completely knew how to be a leader as a player. And I think that the strength of his personality was intimidating to some of the coaches that were asked to coach the team. And so there wasn’t this compliance that has to happen between players and coaches. And as much I tried to interject my own beliefs, I don’t think you’re close enough to the ground in that situation to really be effective in dictating how things are going to be done," Jackson said.
Jackson Says He Was Looking Forward To Trading Carmelo
Phil added that he wanted to trade away Carmelo Anthony for years but his no-trade clause made it impossible to do it and that it hurt the team's flexibility, pretty much blaming him for their struggles:
“I wanted to trade Carmelo and … he’s got a no-trade clause that they asked for, but I suggested that if there was a situation—and I asked them to trade, I wanted them to be compliant with it. And you can have all your choices that you want but I want you to go along with the idea that maybe your time has come with being with the Knicks. So that was met without compliance," he concluded.
While Anthony's tenure at the Big Apple was far from stellar, he was still mistreated by Phil Jackson and the media. He was always the fall guy and that narrative eventually robbed him of a year of his career.