Phil Jackson Will Totally Save the New York Knicks, Right?
Unless he doesn’t.
Although the back-and-forth about the doneness of Knicks deal to bring Phil Jackson to their front office has been painful, it seems inevitable that it will be official very soon. The 68-year-old has more rings than fingers, and brings his undoubtedly winning ways to the Big Apple after spending the past three years in quiet retirement. But can he turn around the Knickerbockers?
Firstly, the reports of the Knicks’ death are greatly exaggerated. It was only last year, with a very similar lineup, that the team finished second in the East and won a playoff series against the Celtics before losing to the unfortunately-seeded Pacers. In fact, thanks to a horrible Eastern Conference, New York currently sits in the nine-spot, only one out from the playoffs. So it’s not as if Phil has a shitload of cleaning up to do.
Secondly, Phil will have a shitload of cleaning up to do if Carmelo Anthony leaves. Melo has already said that adding Jackson won’t impact his choices when it comes to free agency. If Melo does decide to jump ship, there will have to be a huge dynamic change on the team, and Jackson would have to figure out whom to build a team around. In a year when the big three in Miami could all be free agents, along with guys like Lance Stephenson, Luol Deng, and Rudy Gay, that might not be a terrible thing, but locking down Melo is likely still very high on the list of priorities.
Thirdly, whatever title Jackson ends up getting – unless it’s “President of Operations and Larger Than God” – he will likely end up butting heads with cartoon villain James Dolan. Dolan’s iron grip on the team has been the biggest roadblock in getting things done on and off the court. His decisions are made exclusively with his own interests in mind, and it’s hard to see that changing. But have hope, Knicks fans. If anyone has an opinion Dolan can’t ignore, it’s the Zen Master.
Just don’t have too much hope; Andrea Bargnani is still under contract.
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