Predicting Phil Jackson’s moves as President of Basketball Operations if he was never fired by the New York Knicks.
Phil Jackson was hired by the New York Knicks back in March of 2014. The team had ousted former general manager Glen Grunwald before training camp in 2013, and Steve Mills assumed the role of interim President of Basketball Operations.
The Knicks prepped to have cap space in the offseason of 2015. They believed that bringing in the great Phil Jackson, who won eleven titles as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, was a transition into building a championship culture around Carmelo Anthony, an impending free agent.
Phil Jackson fired head coach Mike Woodson, traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Mavericks, and hired Derek Fisher as head coach. He also enticed Carmelo Anthony into re-signing with the club on a five-year, $120 million deal with a no-trade clause.
Jackson’s first season with the team was disastrous. The Knicks finished the season 17-65, second-worst in the league, and they blew up the entire roster, outside of Carmelo. Phil drafted Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft, and the team improved but finished a disappointing 32-50.
Jackson felt the pressure of winning now and traded for former MVP Derrick Rose, while adding Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings in free agency. That season would be Phil’s last with the Knicks, and his relationship with Carmelo Anthony deteriorated to an inauspicious level. The Knicks finished the season 31-51, and the team knew that either Phil, Melo, or both were gone.
Kristaps Porzingis became fed up with the Knicks’ losing and Phil Jackson’s management of the team leading him to skip the team’s exit meeting in protest. The Knicks began to shop the disgruntled Porzingis to the dismay of Knicks fans.
Phil’s public feud with Carmelo Anthony reached a level where Jackson asked owner James Dolan to buy-out the remaining $54 million on Anthony’s contract. That was the last straw for Dolan, and he fired Phil Jackson with two years left on his contract.
Now that we’ve reminded you of the glorious tenure with Phil Jackson calling the shots at Madison Square Garden, in this article, we imagine the moves he would have made if he were never fired from the New York Knicks.