Wait, What did Phil do?
On March 18th, 2014, Phil Jackson, legendary coach and 11 time NBA Champion, signed a 5 year, $60 million contract to become president of the Knicks. Fans all over the tri-state area were ecstatic- finally someone with some sort of real basketball front office pedigree making decisions for the team.
On March 19th, 2014, New York native and huge Knicks fan, Andy, fell into a coma. Today, June 28th, 2017, Andy woke up.
Interior — Hospital Room
Andy is sitting up in bed. He’s been up for a few hours, and is still adjusting to being awake. He’s finally allowed to have visitors, and Josh, fellow Knicks fan, enters his room to talk to him for the first time in years. After pleasantries, Andy’s curiosity takes over.
Andy: So how are the Knicks?! How many championships did we win? Two? Three? Did Lebron come? Everyone seems really excited about them today but it’s been a little crazy since I woke up.
Josh: Ah well, no championships. And no Lebron. He’s back in Cleveland. It’s been pretty awful being a Knicks fan the last couple years. Phil Jackson really screwed everything up. Everyone’s so excited because he finally got fired and we might trade Carmelo!
A: Melo might get traded? Why is everyone happy about that? And what are you talking about with Phil? That guy is a legend. There’s no way he could take a solid team and make them worse.
J: Oh man, you really have missed a lot. Where do you want me to start?
A: Start from the beginning. I need to know how this happened.
J: Well first, we signed Derek Fisher to be the head coach.
A: Derek Fisher? What are you talking about? He was on the Thunder last season.
J: Yeah, he literally played in the playoffs three weeks earlier. And he was a very bad coach. He went 17–65 his first season and got fired during his second season after he missed a practice. He missed that practice because he got punched in the face by Matt Barnes. Oh, also he was dating Matt Barnes’s ex-wife and generally came off like a pretty bad dude.
A: We were ninth in the league that last season. Sure, we weren’t great, but why bring in some guy who’d never coached before?
J: The craziest part? He got a 5 year, $25 million contract.
A: Well, who did they get to replace Fisher?
J: You’re never gonna believe this.
A: It was someone LESS qualified than Derek Fisher?
J: Kurt -
A: Don’t say it.
A: Oh for fuck’s sake. Why the hell would that be the move?! Kurt Rambis?
J: The Triangle, man. It’s all about the Triangle. He hired Fisher just because he knew the system, but he couldn’t even coach it. Then he hired Rambis because he used to play it.
A: Hold the fuck up. I’ve been in a coma for three years and even I know that’s dumb.
J: Nobody knows why! Everyone else in the world can see it’s not going to work, but he’s obsessed. I looked it up once just to see what the triangle even is, and I still don’t know. It’s a confusing mess with a bunch of triangles but all it does is crowd one side of the floor and kill spacing. But still, all these experts, all the time, are just like, “that won’t work in Phil’s triangle offense.” What the fuck even is it?
A: Wait so is Rambis still the coach?
J: No, no. Sorry, he was just an interim coach. After him, we hired Jeff Hornacek.
A: Oh, that’s awesome! He was with the Suns right? They weren’t amazing but they played fun basketball with him.
A: He runs the triangle, doesn’t he?
J: ….Yeah…..But it seems like he kind of got forced to!
A: (after a long pause) Wait, go back to the 17–65 record. Did we have our draft pick that year?
J: Oh, yeah man! We got the fourth pick and we took this Latvian seven footer.
J: No, no! It’s good!
A: Is he another European player who everyone thinks is going to be awesome and then sucks?
J: No, he’s great! His name is Kristaps Porzingis and he can defend the rim and shoot threes and he’s perfect for the modern NBA. But Phil seemed to not be interested in developing him. He’s like Dirk, kind of.
A: But why wouldn’t Phil give someone with a lot of potential the chance to get better?
J: Now you’re getting it. Instead of letting Kristaps touch the ball more and play center, we traded for Derrick Rose and signed Joakim Noah.
A: Why is that bad?! That’s fucking awesome! Noah was the defensive player of the year and an all star last year! And sure, Rose got injured again, but like, he had to come back from that right? How the hell did that go badly?
J: Yeah both of those guys kind of fell of a cliff the year you fell into the coma.
A: Oh, that’s too bad. Man, why do these guys all start their decline after they join the Knicks?
J: Well actually, they kinda sucked the year before they came to the Knicks….
A: We got them after they were bad? What the fuck is going on?
J: Here’s the thing. Carmelo is 32 now. The championship window was closing. So we were in “win-now” mode, but we didn’t have any assets to “win now.” So we were kinda stuck trading draft picks for veterans past their primes and signing guys that got let go because of injuries.
A: I don’t understand. If we knew we couldn’t be good with Melo getting older, and we had this young, good player, why not blow it up and trade Melo for picks?
J: Good thinking, but he, uh, he has a no trade clause. Phil gave him a no trade clause.
A: WHY THE FUCK? Nobody gets no-trade clauses! Why would Melo get a no trade clause?! He’s not Kobe!
J: Nobody knows. Teams wanted to trade for him last year before the deadline, but Phil fucked it up. The Cavs, the Clippers, the Celtics. They all wanted him. But we couldn’t get a deal done, and then Phil talked a bunch of cryptic shit about Melo’s leadership on twitter or whatever, and nobody wants to trade for him anymore.
A: Please just tell me more about Kristaps.
J: He’s great! He had a really good rookie season, had a ton of buzz, and was like, considered one of the top young players in the league. Then he didn’t really progress much his second year, but everyone is still optimistic about him.
A: Good. Okay, I feel a little better.
J: Then he skipped his exit interview at the end of the season and Phil publicly talked about “needing to do what was right for the team” and if that meant trading him, it meant trading him. He wanted to let go of our best hope and start over again.
A: Okay, fine. I get it. Now he’s risking the highest upside player we’ve had in a long time. I’m on board. Let’s fire Phil.
J: By the way, the Knicks picked up the last two years of Phil’s contract two months ago, so they still owe him another $24 million. But hey, that’s Jim Dolan’s money.
A: Did Dolan do anything else stupid?
J: Little things here and there. He got really really into his band and they’re awful. That’s good news though because he does a lot less with the team. Oh! He also got Charles Oakley banned from MSG. It’s a pretty crazy youtube video.
A: What the fuck!? He banned Oakley, a top-ten all time Knick? I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Can we just watch TV or something?
J: Sure, man.
Josh reaches for the remote. He flicks on the hospital television, which defaults to CNN. A special report is beginning:
Reporter: -And President Trump is promising, quote, “a big surprise” when it comes to healthcare-
A: President……Trump? Like, Donald?
J: Yeah, I guess we should have started there.