CLEVELAND — Knicks president Phil Jackson isn’t a fan of Las Vegas — one of his least favorite cities because of the searing heat and crowds. Or maybe because he’s not a wiz at poker.
A second straight trade deadline has passed without Jackson making a transaction. Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose are still Knicks, and Ricky Rubio — a crafty, playmaking point guard who actually may understand the nuances of Jackson’s triangle offense — is still stuck in frigid Minnesota.
Jackson may have overplayed his hand in the Rubio talks that fell apart Thursday. A straight-up Rose-for-Rubio deal wasn’t enough for the Knicks. They wanted more, to expand the deal, to get a draft pick or 6-foot-10 Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica, whom most NBA fans had never heard of.
In the end, word out of Minneapolis was too many of Tom Thibodeau’s advisers worried whether Rose would help the games of youngsters such as Andrew Wiggins. Tired of the stalemate, the Timberwolves decided the chances of re-signing Rose to a moderate contract this summer were risky and it was no time for a rental, currently standing three games out of the West’s eighth seed.
Minnesota backed off even as Jackson may have been willing to do the straight-up swap at the last moment.
The Knicks still can sign one of the veterans who will be released in the next few days, but any difference-making deal is off until at least draft night and July’s free agency.
Barring a miracle final 25 games, the…