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Community Shootaround: Phil Jackson

The Knicks’ hiring of Phil Jackson as team president in March of 2014 was met with much initial excitement because of his Hall-of-Fame credentials as a coach. But there was some skepticism regarding how well he would fare as an executive, a role in which he had no prior experience. Team owner James Dolan certainly went all-in on the Zen Master, inking Jackson to a five-year, $60MM contract, a record salary for an executive.

New York has gone 49-115 under Jackson’s watch, and the fanbase, as well as star forward Carmelo Anthony, are growing increasingly restless. Jackson has often appeared aloof and on occasion, disinterested, which calls into question his commitment to the franchise. The executive didn’t help matters last week by failing to attend the annual college scouting combine last week in Chicago, though he may have done so in order to interview head coaching candidate Frank Vogel in Los Angeles.

Despite the Knicks not owning a pick in this year’s draft, the team could potentially purchase or acquire one via trade. By not attending the combine, Jackson may have missed an important opportunity to observe first-hand some of the talent that may be available. Even if the team is unable to snag a pick this June, Jackson declining to travel to Chicago — whatever the reason, doesn’t inspire confidence from the team’s fans, nor prospective free agents, many of whom will make their decisions based on what organization will give them the best opportunity to win.

This brings me to today’s topic: Should James Dolan, regardless of the money still owed Phil Jackson, part ways with the team president?

This offseason will be a defining one for Jackson as an executive. If he fails to make some significant additions to the roster this summer, it could usher in a complete rebuild of the team, as well as make it all the likelier that Jackson will opt out of his deal after the 2016/17 campaign. But should Dolan entrust such a critical task to Jackson, or should the owner step in and find someone new to lead the team into the future? If you believe Jackson should go, who should the team target to replace him. Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.

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18 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Phil Jackson

  1. Sports

    Great Scott!

    • GabeOfThrones

      It was never time to hire him in the first place. All of his rings came after joining teams that already had legends playing for them. Did he make those teams better? Absolutely. But the triangle doesn’t work in today’s NBA. It might if he had Jordan and Pippen, or Kobe and Shaq. He doesn’t. Melo is still one of the best 20 players in the NBA, but they’ll be nowhere near contention for his last couple of productive years. I don’t give credit to Phil for drafting Porzingis. I blame him for not tanking the last week of the season and missing out on the top pick after the team had mailed in games all year. Knicks got lucky with Porzingis, so the smart move would be to bring in someone that can construct a talented roster around HIM, and not indulge this fairytale of having Melo win a ring in New York. Jackson took this job because he didn’t want the grind of coaching (huge red flag), and didn’t want to tarnish his coaching legacy. He also wanted the cash, and to stay relevant in the modern NBA which I think he disdains. Nothing about his performance thus far, or his track record of self-interest leads me to believe he’s going to stick around long enough to put the Knicks on the path to being sustainably competitive, even if I thought he was capable of doing so (I don’t, at all). The Knicks only avenue to improve this offseason is free agency, but due to the rising cap, and the responsible management of most franchises in the NBA, just about everyone has cap space. The lure of NYC isn’t enough to attract the biggest fish alone (unless Kevin Durant is a foodie, and wants to screw celebrities, but then one could argue the Lakers are a better fit there). But at the end of the day, this is more about James Dolan, than Phil Jackson. Phil will keep his job, Rambis will be coach, and we’ll use our cap space to overpay good chemistry locker room presence fundamentally sound good fits for the triangle, and when that spectacularly fails, we’ll start trading our draft picks again. It’s like Groundhog Day. 6 more years of Cablevision. If I were James Dolan, I’d be throwing hookers through Sam Hinkie’s window while buying Phil an even bigger ranch in Montana to convince him to exit stage left quietly. But if I were James Dolan, I wouldn’t be typing up this comment. I’d probably be partying with hookers. I’d hope I’d at least be better at playing guitar than he is.

      • Steve in Chicago

        Wow. Lot of words and a lot of assumptions. No way to know if this isn’t Phils way of clearing the decks and forcing Melo to ask for a trade Phil would be crucified for making on his own. Then maybe he can reverse the karma that was caused by the original future destroying trade in the first place. I bet Brooklyn wishes they had something of value left from their disastrous trade with Boston. The Nix do have one trade chip, but it can’t be played without Anthony’s compliance. Best for all involved.

  2. Dolan should hire Billy KIng!

  3. Dave Debaucher

    Who cares about the win/loss record? No one had any illusions about the Knicks winning this season or last. IMO Phil has made one bad move (dumping Shumpert and J.R. Smith and getting nothing in return) and one great move (drafting Porzingis).

    The Melo/Porzingis/Lopez frontcourt is actually pretty good. The backcourt of Calderon and Afflalo/Vujacic has to be one of the worst of all time. HAS to be the worst defensive backcourt I’ve ever seen. Why didn’t they just start Grant and Galloway and take their lumps?
    The fact that veterans had to speak up to get Rambis to play the young guys at the end of a lost season is beyond infuriating.

    The head coach hire will be the litmus test. Hiring Rambis over Vogel or Blatt would be literally insane.

    Fingers crossed.

  4. CTBrowns

    No way.

    After tonight, NY (finally!) has control over all its draft picks as well. Give Phil a fair chance to actually build something.

    • Dave4585

      Yeah as long as he dosent hire Rambis

      If he hires Rambis and strikes out in free agency then time to move on

  5. bobhutt99

    Jackson is an unmitigated disaster. He’s forcing square pegs into a round hole in his outdated triangle. No other team plays it. What superstar is coming to the Knicks to change their style of play? Durant? Wade? Who? The answer is no one! A good coach adapts his style of play to fit the talent not Jackson’s way of insisting on the triangle. Cut bait now and buy Jackson out. It’s a failed experiment with a stubborn prima Donna.

  6. Andreas Jadelskyj

    Phil Jackson is doing what he was hired to do. He fixed a front office that was in disarray, started to rebuild a team that was headed toward, a 76ers type desaster, got a good core nuclius for his team. (Mello, not counted, yeah! He holds the ball too much stagnating the offense in the back half of fourth quarters) Whether people like him or not, Rambis, did start to right the fall, created by Fisher. The Knicks were very close too winning games( with Melo and PG6 on the side lines) it was only in the last couple of minutes in the fourth quarter, that the Knicks lost. This showed a glaring weakness in the guard slots.
    Most people forget that when he imploded the Knicks a year and a half ago, he said it would take two to three years, before the Knicks would be contenders again. Melo, if he would accept what the Knicks were trying to teach him, would be a better all around, team player, instead of a selfish, “I must be the finisher of the game”, selfish, type of player. That was what Phil Jackson was alluding too, when he made his comments about Melo. And Melo does NOT get it, or does not want to get it. He can make or break the Knicks by his selfishness(Melo.)
    Phil not being at the combine, does not effect what the Knicks will do. Phil has seen most of these newbies play at their respective colleges durring the season. Most team presidents do NOT appear at the combine, they leave it to their front office staff who are trained for such things.
    The coaching search is going along like Phil Jackson said it would(most of the beat writers did not listen to Phil, in his state of the Knicks press conference after the season ended.) He said, ” since no draft choices, do the Knicks have, a coach does NOT have to be in place, till July 1st. If we pull out of the summer leagues, a coach does not have to be in play, till the end of August.” So Phil Jackson is taking flack for doing his job.

    • You make some great points, but let’s not forget that he let some of the best coaches get hired by other teams due to his aloofness to hiring a coach immediately. Lack of draft picks shouldn’t impede your decision on when a coach should be hired. And it’s just an assumption but he’s only doing due diligence with Vogel and Blatt so that when he hires perennial loser Rambis, he can say that he did actually do a coaching search and felt the best one was in front of him.

    • Um, did you even watch any Knicks games?? Melo had his best overall season statistically and played good team ball. It’s not his fault Calderon is scared to shoot or that we got almost ZERO production from our guards. Plus, who else do you want to finish the game on the Knicks?? Maybe KP in a couple of years but right now it’s Melo. I’m amazed at all the hate Melo gets from fans.
      Phil has been a disaster so far (as many others have stated). I will reserve final judgement until after this offseason. If he can bring in some key FAs (especially at guard) and we make the playoffs, I will be cool…if he hires Rambis (over the unprecedented number of superior coaches available right now) and we miss the playoffs again, he needs to go….Rambis too.
      I guess the worst case scenario is we hire Rambis, we suck again and then Phil AND Rambis both get fired and we hire a ream GM and coach…with a full stable of draft picks going into summer 2017 when there will be some very good FA’s available…including Melo’s buddy Chris Paul.

  7. Phil reminds me of Gavin Belson from Silicon Valley. He’s was great, built an empire (aka championships) but now he’s just crazy and none of his moves make any sense.

    • GabeOfThrones

      Then James Dolan is Russ. Phil’s not getting fired, and the Knicks aren’t getting better anytime soon. Figures a team owned by a cable company is the worst run professional sports franchise in North America (seriously, is anyone else even close? Besides the Browns?). If Phil was smart (I’m not entirely convinced this whole Zen Master thing is entirely deserved at this point), he’d use the cap space to absorb contracts in exchange for picks and young players, then sign a bunch of temps whose only job is to make Melo look like he’s got another 5 years left in the tank, while simultaneously bottoming out for draft picks, then trade Melo after he gets frustrated and waives his no-trade clause. And hope none of this stunts Porzingis’ growth. Because there’s already Kurt Rambis for that…

  8. Dionis

    People are so impatient, just let The man build what he wants And If he fails just move on. He drafted Porzingis who will be a two-way terror in The league for at least The Néxt 10 seasons barring injury. Jerian Grant will be a very good Player And possibly a star Néxt season, development takes time, Draymmond Green was a no one until Walton advised The coaching staff to play him, The Knicks have star power in Melo And Porzingis, give Rambis a chance The guy dealt with Some really bad rosters in Minnesota.

    • We’ve been patient for 15 years! Other than 2012, we’ve sucked ever since Scott Laydum destroyed a playoff team in 2002 (Ewing trade) and Isiah Thomas came in after and traded away all of our draft picks for over priced malcontents.

      You should also go back and double check the rosters Rambis had to work with. He had Kevin Love, Al Jefferson, Michael Beasely, Cory Brewer, Martel Webster, etc. Plenty of quality NBA players (even if they were young)….not playoff worthy but too much talent to only win 15 and 17 games both years.

  9. I hate this new log in process…bring back Disqus

  10. Great timing, Jim, aka one half of the lost boys in LA should be departing after this year which frees up a “president of basketball operations” position in Los Angeles along side Jeanie. Let me be the first to say “welcome home Phil”!!!

    • BSPORT

      Please stay in New York Phil. Lakers are a mess but don’t need a forced triangle to sink the ship. They have a young coach and young talent and have a better chance of landing free agents without Phil. If he’s so respected in the basketball world why doesn’t any stars look to Knicks for destination? Buss is doing a horrible job with team but not as bad shape as Phil. Don’t go from bad to worse Lakers. Try to bring back some good basketball people to front office and stay out of operations and just go watch games and watch them win.

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