If players can’t publicly ask for a trade, management shouldn’t be able to encourage one.
That was the message from the National Basketball Players Association to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver following New York Knicks President Phil Jackson’s comments regarding Carmelo Anthony.
Jackson said Friday that the Knicks haven’t been able to win with Anthony and that maybe the All-Star forward would be “better off somewhere else.”
Players risk being fined if they lobby for a trade in the media.
“If players under contract cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards,” NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said in a statement.
Jackson and Anthony met Thursday, a day after the Knicks finished a 31-51 season. Anthony has a no-trade clause, but Jackson made it clear he hoped Anthony would waive it and accept a deal so the Knicks could get younger and more athletic.
“We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time and I think the direction with our team is that he is a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere he can win or chase that championship,” Jackson said.
The relationship between Anthony and Jackson fell apart this season but Anthony has refused to make any public criticisms of the team’s president of basketball operations and has said he wants to stay in New York.
“The door swings both ways when it comes to demonstrating loyalty and respect,” Roberts said.
Anthony is an NBPA vice president.
Jackson was fined by the NBA shortly after he was hired for expressing his interest in Derek Fisher as a coaching candidate. Fisher was still under contract to the Oklahoma City Thunder as a player at the time.