Is Phil Jackson the savior of the New York Knicks? Coming in on with his shining armor, riding a white horse? Could it actually happen?
Phil Jackson and the Knicks have been rumored ever since he left Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Phil Jackson has 11 coaching rings; 6 with Jordan’s Bulls, 3 with the Shaq/Kobe Lakers, and another 2 with Kobe and Gasol. He also has another two rings with the New York Knicks back in 1970 and 1973. Jackson was injured in 1970 but was a top reserve in 1973. He is a close friend of Knicks broadcaster Walt “Clyde” Frazier, the Knick point guard on those championship teams.
Back when Mike Woodson was an interim head coach, after Mike D’Antoni was fired, rumors of Phil Jackson becoming the next Knicks head coach were swirling all over the league. Phil is known for bizarre tactics to bring teams together, but his resume speaks for itself. He runs the triangle offense, and it’s no secret he needs an elite scorer to succeed.
He made Michael Jordan into, well, MICHAEL JORDAN, and made Kobe Bryant into a legend of the game. The Knicks have Carmelo Anthony, a pending free agent. If Jackson comes to New York, even in a front office capacity, it would be absolutely foolish for Carmelo to leave. Not only will he get paid $30 million more, but one of, if not the best basketball minds of all-time will be making the decisions for the team. Knowing the New York media, he will be pressured to coach the team if the next coach isn’t winning, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Back in 2012, HBO interviewed Jackson at his Minnesota home. Jackson called the Knicks “clumsy” and made it clear that he thought Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony don’t fit well together. He also said “They need to have someone come in that can kinda blend that group together.” In 2012, Jackson made it clear that he wasn’t the man to do so. But is he in 2014?
Next season will be Stoudemire’s last season with the Knicks, and will have about $20 million coming off the books. His expiring deal can also bring in a big trade for the Knicks.
My main concern is how this all leads to James Dolan. Dolan would have to completely step back into the basketball operations and let all decisions be made by Phil Jackson and whomever else he brings in. If Dolan can’t trust the greatest basketball mind of this generation, then he just has to get out of New York ASAP.
Is this a response to the rumored protest that will be held outside Madison Square Garden on March 19th before the rival and Eastern Conference favorites Indiana Pacers come to town? If Dolan can strike a deal with Jackson, and convince him that he will have FULL control of the basketball operations of the Knicks, the fans will spare him.
Knicks fans are fed up with this franchise. Bringing in Phil Jackson as a front office executive is a start to answer our prayers. Can Dolan put his ego to the side and let Jackson call the shots? Will Jackson even want to come to this mess? He can be the savior of New York City, the place where he started his career over 40 years ago.
Phil Jackson will have his career come full circle. He would be going from a top bench player on a Knicks championship team to being looked at as the savior of New York basketball.
PS – Phil Jackson as GM? Jeff Van Gundy as Head Coach?