New York Knicks fans are hoping that the Zen Master will right the ship for the Knickerbockers and steer them closer to a championship. The coaching staff on the other hand, including head coach Mike Woodson, are already feeling the wrath of Phil Jackson, less than a week following the final game of the season. Woodson and company have been shown the door on the heels of a disappointing 37-45 record, with Jackson making his first big move since settling in as the team’s new president back in March.
What’s next for Jackson? Most likely, his next move will be in hiring a head coach, and with rumors of a Steve Kerr hiring already swirling throughout the streets of Manhattan, it should not be long before candidates are narrowed down and one is chosen to take the reins of the struggling Knicks.
Kerr is the most obvious, and perhaps the most popular choice for a number of reasons. He has played under Phil Jackson, learning the triangle offense while a member of the Chicago Bulls championship run from 1996-1999. He now works with Jackson in the main office, and would most likely implement the triangle into the New York Knicks’ offense. It is because of this that Kerr makes the most sense and is the front-runner.
Jackson and Kerr have also remained very close throughout the years, with Kerr saying that “I would often have dinner with him on the road if I was playing for another team, even just to catch up. I went to his daughter’s wedding a few years ago in Montana. We’ve been very close.” Now that the Zen Master’s wrath has been dropped upon the coaching staff, look for a coaching change to be made quite early into the off-season.
Now that the Knicks have crossed off certain administrative checkpoints, including the hiring of a new president, and the dismissal of Mike Woodson as well as his coaching staff, they appear to be heading in the right direction in naming a new coach. Now the players become the focus.
Most importantly, Carmelo Anthony’s decision to opt out of his contract for the 2014-15 season is the main question and concern looming over Madison Square Garden and the Knicks management. Anthony, who averaged 27.4 ppg to go along with 8.1 rebounds is set to receive $23 million next season, yet has voiced his frustration ad nauseam about his displeasure with the Knicks’ franchise, and their inability to win games.
In recent days, Anthony has made comments expressing his hope to stay in New York, only to add that “I also want to win. I’m not at the point in my career where I want to rebuild,” Anthony is quoted as saying. He also added he does not want to be “tormented” and finds it “embarrassing” about not being in the playoffs. Perhaps the wrath of Phil Jackson should be felt by Anthony as well. It’s time for the New York Knicks to clean house, and if the burden is too much for Anthony and company, maybe they would be better off elsewhere.
Phil Jackson is in no way the cure all solution for the New York Knicks. It’s not as though he can wave a magical wand, unleash his wrath upon players and coaches, make new hires and voila, there is a new championship banner hanging in The Garden. However, for a franchise that has not won an NBA championship since 1973, the future should begin to shine just a little bit brighter. If building a brighter future means that Phil Jackson cleans house and needs a few years to rebuild, then so be it. He’s the master, and it’s hard to argue with eleven championship rings, so whatever he says goes, and whatever goes often leads to success.
Commentary by Johnny Caito