Two years ago, when the New York Knicks hired Phil Jackson as team president, star forward Carmelo Anthony responded with one of the most quintessentially Melo statements of his career: "I'm a chess player, and that was a power move." To this day I'm fairly certain that the term "power move" isn't used by serious chess players -- it comes from the title of a popular chess improvement book.
That being said, Melo may have just pulled off the biggest damn power move of all. If he had any control over the sources in Marc Berman's latest article on the Knicks' coaching search, Melo has come out very strongly (and very publicly) in favor of David Blatt over Phil Jackson's preferred choice, Kurt Rambis:
Though his buddy LeBron James couldn't stand him, Carmelo Anthony said he likes the idea of hiring former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, according to a person familiar with his thinking.
The source stated Anthony believes Blatt, because of his vast international experience before joining the Cavaliers, would be better for 7-foot-3 Latvian phenom Kristaps Porzingis than interim coach Kurt Rambis.
The source said Anthony feels Blatt could develop Porzingis into an All-Star quicker with his international touch.
The source said Anthony likes and respects Rambis, but has reservations. Anthony has requested input but hasn't had contact with Jackson since exit meetings four weeks ago.
Ever since he fired Derek Fisher, Jackson has spoken primarily about the need to install his offensive system, to find a coach who is "simpatico." Whoever is speaking for Melo in this article takes a different, far more compelling approach: The Knicks need to find a coach who is best for Kristaps Porzingis, the future of the franchise.
Berman goes on to say that, according to sources, Kristaps wasn't happy with the way Rambis used him in the beginning, though things to improve toward the end of the season. Watching the games, it certainly appeared Kristaps was frustrated, but this is the first time we've had that (possibly) confirmed.
This is wild, yo. It shouldn't really come as surprise that Melo would find no quarrel with Blatt, regardless of how the former Cavs coach got along with his best buddy LeBron James -- Melo is very much his own man. But few people suspected him to back Blatt this publicly. Melo and/or his people usually go through Frank Isola for this sort of stuff, but this came from Berman, the traditional voice of New York's front office. We'll have to wait and see what follows from other beat writers. The gauntlet may have just been thrown down.