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updated: 3/18/2014 8:27 PM

Phil Jackson still having a say about Bulls

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  • New York Knicks new team president Phil Jackson listens to a question during a news conference Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

    New York Knicks new team president Phil Jackson listens to a question during a news conference Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
    Associated Press


Phil Jackson always had a special way with words, including when he coached the Bulls.

Sometimes he used so many big syllables in so many odd ways that minds tripped over them on the way to their meaning.

Jackson was introduced Tuesday as president of the New York Knicks and at one point recalled that he once said, "I hate prevarication. It's a term I don't like, and prevaricating is something I don't want to do as a general manager."

When we're done here I'm going to look up "prevarication" and try to figure out what that paragraph was all about.

Of more importance back here in Chicago was how clearly Jackson messaged Carmelo Anthony and massaged Jerry Krause.

First for Anthony, who can opt out of his Knicks contract this summer and would look mighty good in a Bulls uniform.

One mystery has been whether Anthony would choose to stay with the dreadful Knicks for more money. Another has been whether Jackson would want him back.

The former question will remain unanswered for a while, but Jackson addressed the latter question with a firm yes.

Jackson added, "I was on record a year ago, as great a player as (Anthony) is, (he) still has another level he can go to. To get him with the team we create, he can get there."

This was Jackson at his Zen Masterful best, at once complimenting and challenging Anthony.

Jackson was telling Anthony, sure the goal is to win an NBA title but first you have to progress to being the best player you can be.

There's an implication here in Chicago, too, where the debate rages over whether Anthony would fit in with Tom Thibodeau's coaching and Derrick Rose's point playing.

I have been panting for Anthony to come here and provide scoring the Bulls so desperately have needed for so long.

Now, though, one side of the brain thinks that I wouldn't want Anthony here if he weren't smart enough to stay with Jackson's program.

The other side of the brain thinks that Anthony still would be OK here if he were smart enough to decline sacrificing a couple of years while Jackson tries to resurrect the Knicks.

A good guess is that if Anthony understands what Jackson is saying, or if he thinks he understands what Jackson is saying, or if he simply is hypnotized by what Jackson is saying …

Well, then Anthony will remain a Knick. Otherwise he'll leave New York with a quizzical expression on his face and The New York Times crossword puzzle on his lap.

Now for Jackson's massaging of Krause, the general manager who brought him to Chicago and provided him with Bulls rosters that won six NBA titles.

Jackson and Krause clashed to the point many wondered how the Bulls survived during those years, much less thrived.

Mutual professional respect is how, even if there wasn't mutual personal love.

Jackson said Tuesday in New York, "Jerry Krause, his attitude toward doing this job that I'm charged with doing (now) is really kind of the map for me going forward."

He also mentioned Krause's "work ethic" and commitment "to finding out information about players that would help create teams that could win."

The flattery surprised some but not me.

A few years ago I criticized Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for continuing to snipe at Krause.

Jackson emailed to remind me that he praised Krause in his own Hall of Fame induction speech in 2007.

Take my word for it, Phil Jackson got his point across then and again Tuesday concerning Jerry Krause and Carmelo Anthony.

Now excuse me while a look up the meaning of prevarication.

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