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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Phil Jackson to the Knicks

The New York Knicks announced today that Phil Jackson will be hired as the team president. Jackson, 68, is a 13-time NBA champion, two as a player, 11 times as a Head Coach. Jackson coaches Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and future Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

The Knicks cheerleaders are the only ones at The Garden with a reason to smile. And they're paid...! 1


The Zen Master will try to bring to Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony what he brought to Jordan, O’Neal, and Bryant: a different perspective that translated into winning championships. Anthony is arguably the greatest scorer of his time, but has been often criticized by an unwillingness to play hard on defense and not spreading the ball around enough on offense. Phil Jackson helped turn Jordan and Bryant from shooting-centric scorers into MVP caliber champions. Approaching age 30, is Anthony ready and open to making a similar transition in his career?

That "ten" (X) lid was replaced with an "eleven" (XI) the following season. Will his next one be a "XII" (12), "XIV" (14) to include his playing days, or a "I" for his first title as an executive? 2


Jackson made it clear during his introductory press conference that winning an NBA Championship is his goal. It isn’t happening this year; it isn’t happening next year. Knicks owner James Dolan stated that Jackson will be in charge of all basketball decisions. The problem for Jackson is that, in the short term, his range of available decisions will have limitations.

The Knicks do not have a first round draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. By all informed accounts, the upcoming draft will have the most depth of talent of any draft in several years. The Knicks are going to miss that train unless Jackson can pull off some hocus-pocus.

Often injured forward Amare Stoudamire’s massive contract (nearly $20 million/year) expires after the 2015 season. With the NBA’s salary cap structure, this is a significant asset. Can Jackson parlay this vehicle of cap relief into a late first round pick? Can he receive a young standout with star potential in exchange? If he can, it is a good start. If not, the daunting task of the returning the Knicks to the NBA’s elite will take longer than many fans hope for.

Is Melo ready to take his game up yet another level? 3

The biggest boost I see from this hire is that is sends a message to the fans of New York that the Knicks are serious about contending again. Jackson won’t be coaching from the bench but fans can rest assured that the successor of the soon-to-be-fired Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson will be in Jackson’s coaching likeness.

The Knicks have not won a championship in 41 years. The organization has been a mess in the past decade. Phil Jackson represents the best available chance to keep that streak from running to 50 years.  

Sports make for strange bedfellows. 4

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1, 2, 4) Image origins unknown
3) Image from Getty Images

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