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Phil Jackson Talks Triangle, Rose, Noah, Opt-Out

A report last week suggested that Knicks president Phil Jackson was unhappy with his team’s offense, having felt that the club should be using triangle sets more often. At the time that story surfaced, the Knicks’ defense was also a mess, prompting the team to assign Kurt Rambis exclusively to that side of the ball in an attempt to clean things up. Reports later in the week indicated that Rambis’ new assignment came from head coach Jeff Hornacek, but Jackson still seems a little more hands-on than most team presidents around the NBA.

In an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Jackson addressed his reported displeasure with the club’s offensive sets, along with several other topics. The entire discussion is worth checking out, but here are a few highlights from the Knicks president:

On whether he’s frustrated with the lack of triangle sets in the Knicks’ offense:

“No. But when they run it, I want them to run it the right way. If you are going to do it, use your skills and run it the right way. I’m not frustrated at all. Derrick Rose missed three weeks of training camp (because of a civil trial). It’s totally understandable where we are as a ball club. We have guards that do a lot of stuff off the dribble. I want them to understand they can do things off the pass. It has to be a combination.”

On the decision to trade for Rose in the summer:

Mike Conley was the best choice as a free agent, but he’s making $30MM a year. That’s almost insane. We saw that was going to happen. We had the opportunity to play with Derrick and see if he does have enough left in the tank — he’s 27 years old — before we have to get into that (free) agent market again. It gave us an opportunity to build a team around him, Carmelo [Anthony] and Kris[taps Porzingis].

“And, having experiences with Joakim [Noah] over the years, not only as a player with talent, but a guy who showed up at my door in Montana, he knows Derrick and he knows how to play with him. It gives us an advantage. Both are coming back into playing form.”

On whether he’ll exercise the opt-out clause in his contract after this season:

“I have not entertained that. I’m looking for this Knicks team to get back into a situation where they are competitive. Do I have to win a championship before I feel I’ve done the job I’ve been asked to do, which is to bring this group back to that competitive level? No, I don’t. We’re starting to make progress. I like a lot of the things we are doing here. But we’ve got more to do.

“The real issue with the opt out was simply my rationale regarding the (potential) lockout. If it was going to happen in December and everybody chose to walk away, there was no way I was going to sit in New York for three, four months when I didn’t have a job, because (the players) aren’t even allowed to show up to work.”

On the possibility of returning to the Lakers:

“They’re moving forward in the right direction. Luke [Walton] has them engaged, Brian [Shaw] is an associate head coach; they have a core group of guys that will get it done. It was never important to me to go back and be a part of that. Especially not now. I have this job, this commitment.”

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