Knicks owner James Dolan is weighing the future of team president Phil Jackson in New York, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. According to Wojnarowski, a final decision on Jackson’s future has not been made, but Dolan is “harboring uncertainties” about the job the Hall of Fame coach is doing in the Knicks’ front office.
Jackson’s performance as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations has been increasingly questioned within the last year as he became entangled in a public feud with Carmelo Anthony. Despite the fact that the star forward holds a no-trade clause, Jackson has publicly suggested he’d like to move on from Anthony, creating an unusual standoff as the new league year approaches.
The Anthony situation – along with a series of questionable roster moves that included a four-year, $72MM+ commitment to Joakim Noah – wasn’t enough to stop Dolan from exercising his side of Jackson’s option to keep him under contract through 2018/19. However, according to Wojnarowski, the Knicks owner has become “increasingly concerned” about Jackson’s fitness for the job and for the long-term future of the franchise.
The highlight of Jackson’s tenure with the Knicks so far was his pick of Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft. However, even that success story has taken an unexpected turn in recent months.
Frustrated with the Knicks’ dysfunction, Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with the franchise at season’s end, and Jackson responded by making the big man available in trade talks leading up to the draft. While Porzingis remains a Knick, Jackson’s willingness to seriously entertain trade possibilities appears to have been a red flag for Dolan.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Knicks sources expect clarity on Jackson’s future to come in some form on Wednesday morning. If the team does decide to shake up its front office, the timing will be less than ideal — free agency officially gets underway in less than 72 hours.