Phil Jackson is the only man who can save the New York Knicks from the franchise’s current state of ineptitude. The 13-time NBA champion as both a player and coach has been out of the game for three seasons, but is reportedly itching to get back in and is currently mulling an offer from the Knicks to join the front office. The harsh realities of a dismal season are starting to set in as the Knicks become less likely to earn a playoff berth with each passing day, meaning management has to do whatever it takes to retain Carmelo Anthony and put some better pieces around him immediately.
According to ESPN, the Knicks recently offered Jackson the head coaching gig, which he subsequently declined. It is safe to say that Jackson has already climbed that mountain with his 11 championship rings as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers dynasties. He is ready to move upstairs, an opportunity that the Knicks have presented by offering the position of president of basketball operations to the 68-year-old Jackson.
The Knicks have been in a constant state of disarray for years. Last season, everything seemed to click and they earned themselves the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but everything has come crashing down this year. Aside from Anthony having one of his best seasons, guys like Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith have been pummeled by off-court issues as well as ghastly play on the court. New acquisition Andrea Bargnani was having a down year before his injury. Tough glue guys Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace were also bitten by the injury bug, with the latter eventually seeing his contract bought out. You name it, and it has happened to this team. This is why they are left with no other place to turn. Phil Jackson is the only man who can save the Knicks.
After years of being run by the inept Isiah Thomas and Donnie Walsh, Jackson could seemingly perform this job from his front porch in Montana and do a better job. It remains to be seen what his plans would be with the Carmelo situation, whom owner James Dolan is adamant about bringing back.
The Jackson experiment will work under one condition only. Dolan has to let Jackson run the show. If there is anyone who should be trusted to get this team back anywhere near title contention again, it has to be Jackson. If he thinks letting Carmelo sign elsewhere is the way to go, then that is just a harsh reality the team is going to have to face. He was critical about the roster makeup a few years ago, pointing out that Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony together were awkward. Whatever changes he deems necessary, he has to be able to make without anyone else interjecting. Jackson has not waited around for three years to take just any old job.
Phil Jackson is the only man who can save the New York Knicks, and in order for that to happen he is going to need full control of the team, which it sounds like is the offer on the table. There will likely be some answers to quell all these rumors sometime during next week, but for now the Knicks are simply fighting for their lives.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
New York Daily News
New York Daily News