Phil Jackson almost certainly would have opted out of his contract as president of the Knicks if a lockout had taken place, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday, who states that the possibility of a work stoppage was the reason the opt-out clause was included in his contract. The writer adds that Jackson now faces the choice of either returning to Los Angeles and saying he left the team in better shape than when he arrived or staying in New York and trying to make the Knicks a perennial contender.
There’s more news out of New York:
- Knicks point guard Derrick Rose is sitting out games now to protect his long-term health, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Rose was inactive for tonight’s game in Denver, making it the third time in the past five contests that he has been sidelined with back pain. “I hate missing, but I have to be smart about it,” Rose said. “I want to play consistent games instead of playing one game, aggravating something and missing two games. I want to play consistent games.”
- The Knicks may be forced to make a decision soon about summer league star Chasson Randle, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Randle was sent to New York’s Westchester affiliate in the D-League after getting hurt in training camp. He had a 38-point game Friday night and has reportedly attracted interest from the Mavericks and 76ers. However, either team would have to clear a roster spot in order to sign Randle. Berman speculates that the Knicks would part with Maurice Ndour if they decide to add Randle to their roster.
- Backup center Kyle O’Quinn has expanded his role this month, often playing more minutes than starter Joakim Noah, Bondy notes in a separate story. In his first seven games of December, O’Quinn has averaged 11.6 points and 9.9 rebound per night while shooting 64% from the field. He credits weight loss and new coach Jeff Hornacek’s offense for his improved numbers. “You look at some of the bigs he had [at his last job in Phoenix], and that’s where they found a home at – dunker spots, little midrange jumpshots,” O’Quinn said. “And he encourages those so we got guys like Brandon [Jennings] and Derrick Rose and they know where to find me in those spots.”