OT: Phil Jackson to Knicks

Submitted by The Geek on March 11th, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Per ESPN's Chris Broussard and also reported by Sports Illustrated (Link: HERE), Phil Jackson will become "head of basketball operations" by the end of the week.

Suppose we can quell the rumors about him saving the Pistons...

A championship ring in the future for THJ?



March 11th, 2014 at 12:19 PM ^

The guy is going on 69 years old. There is no MJ, Kobe or Shaq on this team. The Knicks are owned by a total bufoon. I give Phil 2 seasons tops before he is out of there.


March 11th, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

You might be right about him being gone in two years, but he's one of the best coaches in NBA history (along with Pat Riley, Magic Johnson, and Lawrence Frank). I wouldn't bet against him being able to turn them into a good team by either giving advice or taking over as coach. And the Knicks do have some talent; they just can't seem to mesh together.


March 11th, 2014 at 1:11 PM ^

Didn't he offer to come back to coach the Lakers if he only had to coach home games?  And he didn't do a very good job advising the Pistons on their coaching search either.  With his age, I'd stay away from him.  I think he has this arrogance about him right now where he thinks he can half ass something and still get the job done.


March 11th, 2014 at 4:11 PM ^

It's all a big publicity stunt to placate the fans who are fuming (so much so they're planning a protest outside the entrance to the arena). Working under James Dolan is a no win situation. The Knicks would be better off if that Cowboy guy who owned the team in the movie "Eddie" with Whoopie Goldberg still owned the team.


March 11th, 2014 at 1:39 PM ^

Disagree about the Knicks talent.

Once you get beyond Carmelo, who can opt out after this year (and this move is all about convincing him to stay) the Knicks are remarkably talent poor for the amount of salary they have committed. They have $50 million committed next year to three frontcourt players that are breaking down and that no other team has remote interest in ($23 million to Amare and his uninsurable knees, $14.5 million to Chandler, who's breaking down, and $12 million to Bargnani). Add in $12 million committed to JR Smith and the $9 million committed to Ray Felton over the following two years (ie 2015-16 season) and you have a team with very little flexibility in the short term.  

They've also shipped away all but one of of their draft picks in the next three drafts. They retain only their 2015 first round pick.

About their only decent assets beyond Carmelo are THJ and Shumpert, who are also the guys they should keep as they're on inexpensive rookie deals.

I guess Jackson can try to sell Carmelo on one more tough year and then the opportunity to build around him once they clear the terrible frontcourt contracts, (plus the additional money the Knicks can offer), but Carmelo should really think hard about Houston, with no state taxes and the chance to play with Howard and Harden.


March 11th, 2014 at 3:58 PM ^

Amen. The Knicks are going to remain an unsalvagable mess without a huge roster shakeup or bionic knees for amare. Even Shumpert has regressed (shooting 37%) and struggled with injuries this year. Maybe Tim can learn something from Phil but I don't see him winning a ring in NY any time soon.


March 11th, 2014 at 1:13 PM ^

Red Auerbach, Pat Reilly, Phil Jackson, and Greg Popovich (as either coaches or GMs) collectively are responsible for the vast majority of  championships in NBA history, and if their team didn't win the title that year they were most likely the losing finals team. You would be absolutely beyond incompetent as an organization if you were presented the opportunity to have one of them involved in your organization in some capacity and turned the offer down.

Simply having the name "Phil Jackson" associated with you in a basketball context is a major win.


March 11th, 2014 at 1:49 PM ^

Yeah, I'm not really getting why he's coming back.  The Knicks are turrible, and not in the "underperforming" sense as much as they have a couple of decent NBA players and then pretty much nothing.  Maybe Jackson gets them to the 2nd round of the playoffs, but without a massive overhaul you are relying on Melo, Chandler, and a revolving cast of young guys and washed-up veterans.


March 11th, 2014 at 12:26 PM ^

A championship ring in the future for THJ?

Maybe by the time he is playing somewhere else. The Knicks are a mess and will remain one. Jackson has never shown anything in this role and it's been well-documented that his rings as a coach deserve grains of salt.

atom evolootion

March 11th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

he'll go the same road as David lee, Wilson Chandler, channing Frye, Jeremy lin and anybody else the Knicks have drafted who showed some talent only to be replaced by a ten-years-ago baller whose knee cartilage was long gone before people figured out the question to Allen iverson's reverse-jeopardy answer... I love the Knicks, but I hate how they go about the business of building a team!


March 11th, 2014 at 12:35 PM ^

if his rings deserved to be taken with a grain of salt. However, he has never won a ring in this copacity.He has never put a team together, or shown that he is capable of doing so. This Knicks roster is a hott mess though. Any GM would have their work cut out.


March 11th, 2014 at 3:39 PM ^

They were a great team, but unlike Phil's teams, they didn't have multiple first ballot HOFers.

I think Phil's rings should be taken with a grain of salt. In both of his stints, he showed up once the super team was already in place, and he coached them. He's a great coach, but I don't think he's the "ZOMG he's the best coach ever because 11 rings."


March 11th, 2014 at 2:37 PM ^

However I can name quite a few of the "best players in the NBA" and elite talents who have never won without an elite coach... many of them who were great but didn't win until Phil showed up:

MJ, Kobe, Shaq, Duncan, etc. never won a title without an elite coach. The last few titles without an elite coach took 3 of the best players in the league teaming up and possibly colluding to do so (Celtics and Heat)


March 11th, 2014 at 12:49 PM ^

If he has in fact taken the position, then that's one hell of a mess to take on - some awful contracts, not a whole lot of draft picks to speak of, and a culture that some of the previous Dolan hires seemed to wreck, and by some accounts, a culture that Dolan himself had a hand in wrecking. It does not seem like the Knicks have the infrastructure for this to work all that well, but I could be wrong there.

What I know of James Dolan is limited, but how much authority would he be willing to give Jackson? 


March 11th, 2014 at 1:53 PM ^

From what I've gathered, Dolan is hyper-involved in decision-making, mostly to the detriment of the team.  Jackson will be a strong personality, but I expect this to be a short and tumultuous relationship between the two.  Hell, the one time a decent GM tried to keep it going there (Donnie Walsh), he basically left saying they were going to crash and burn by wasting any cap space on guys like Amare and trading away the future for Melo.  


March 11th, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

this really does for the Knicks.  I think it would've been cool for him to end up with the Pistons, but he's practically an unknown quantity in terms of personnel decisions.  AFAIK, the only front office-type work he's done was consulting with the Pistons on their coaching search.  That ended with Mo Cheeks getting fired after a few months.  If I were a Knicks fan (thank god I'm not), my reaction would be "meh".


March 11th, 2014 at 1:48 PM ^

largely undisputed facts:

1.  Dolan is a nightmare as an owner--really only Sterling is more so

2.  The Knicks don't have great pieces--current roster, Anthony as free agent, few draft picks and high payroll.

3.  Jackson--while an egotistical prick--is a great coach and far from a stupid man.

Jackson must see something I'm missing.  He doesn't need the money.  He shouldn't need the ego fix. 

Either this becomes a quickly aborted engagement or I think better days are ahead for the Knicks.


March 11th, 2014 at 3:46 PM ^

Sterling is a better owner than Dolan. Dolan is the flagship franchise of the whole league and can't do anything with it. Sterling plays second fiddle (by no choice of his own) in his own city to an absolute juggernaut. Sterling has not been a good owner at all, but he's had more stacked against him, and right now he has one of the best teams in the league.


March 11th, 2014 at 5:29 PM ^

OK, that's an entirely different discussion and I thought we were just talking about their abilility to do their jobs.  

And I'm not trying to defend Donald Sterling or James Dolan, but lots of really rich dudes are also big time assholes.  This is not a new thing.

snarling wolverine

March 11th, 2014 at 10:32 PM ^

Sterling plays second fiddle (by no choice of his own) in his own city to an absolute juggernaut.

Actually it is his choice. He bought the San Diego Clippers and moved them to Los Angeles.  Later, he turned down the chance to move the franchise to Anaheim and instead decided to share the Staples Center with the Lakers.


March 12th, 2014 at 12:23 AM ^

OK that's fair, but that's not what I meant.  And being in Anaheim isn't really moving - the Angels still play in the Dodgers shadow, and the Ducks do as well, to the handful of people who care about hockey.  LA and OC aren't really different cities when it comes to sports.  

Either way, that move was a long time ago.  He had the choice between being in a small market like SD, or being second fiddle in a huge market.  Since most of SD has always been Lakers fans anyway, that's like a distinction without a difference, or however that saying goes.


March 11th, 2014 at 3:32 PM ^

I don't see how on earth Jackson and Dolen can work together. Phil with his be chill-zen like mentality. And Dolen with his domineering, micro managing style.

Oh yeah, this will go well

Section 1

March 11th, 2014 at 3:37 PM ^

I wish I could be Phil Jackson, even just for a few hours, because I would like to know what it's like to ask for anything, and get it. Is there anything Jackson could ask for, and the New York Knicks wouldn't hurriedly vow to deliver? Phil Jackson could ask for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays off, and the Knicks would agree, telling him to take Tuesdays and Thursdays, too. Phil Jackson could ask to work from home, and for the Knicks to build him that home. Jackson could ask for his mega salary to be paid all in singles; the Knicks would merrily count it all out. He could request a dolphin, a unicorn, a dolphin riding a unicorn (it's possible). He could ask for free Chipotle on the hour. He could ask for a Chipotle counter in his office. He could ask that Adele come to his desk in the morning and sing a 10-minute set to begin the day. He could ask for everyone in the organization to call him some nonsense name, like Fred the Icebox. Everyone would agree to call him Fred the Icebox.

Complimentary foot massages for Fred the Icebox? Sure. Any moment, any hour.

This is what it's like for greatness to negotiate with the desperate.

If I were Phil Jackson I would tell the Knicks they couldn't call me, and I would only call them, from pay phones, at truck stops, every three weeks. When I called I would speak in a robot voice, or maybe do a Marv Albert impression. If I was Phil Jackson I would tell the Knicks I would only submit handwritten letters of advice, composed by candlelight, to be read aloud at halftime, by David Byrne or Steve Buscemi. Or maybe he will communicate only through pigeons, or a set of very reliable goats. If you wanted to talk to Phil Jackson, you'd have to put a message on a goat, in a special compartment on the collar for messages. These goats do not currently exist. They would have to be trained, but the Knicks would train them, because they want very much to give their underachieving basketball team over to Phil Jackson.