Breaking: Phil Jackson is Being Dismissed
Celebrate Knicks fans, the Zen Master is parting ways with Dolan and New York.
I woke up this morning and checked my phone, the same way everybody does, but only Knicks fans can relate to the pure joy I felt when I saw this tweet waiting for me on my notifications screen:
The New York Knickerbockers are dismissing Phil Jackson! This report is from The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne has also confirmed, yes, the Knicks and Jackson will “part ways.”
James Dolan, our loving savior (ok, let’s come down a bit), is squaring up on his $60 million dollar investment to rid himself of the Triangle.
This news comes at a surprising time. After all, it is only months after Dolan picked up the remaining two-years on Jackson’s contract, what is now a $24 million mistake. The Knicks just completed the draft, selecting Frank Ntilikina for his supposed fit for the Triangle. The team held their pre-draft workouts exclusively focusing on the Triangle. We are also only days away from the beginning of free agency.
Usually Dolan’s intervention end up with bad decisions, but terminating the Phil era may be the only right step for the…theknickswall.com
Jackson came on board as president of the team in March of 2014. Phil has accumulated an 80–166 record while supervising the franchise between the 2014–15–2016–17 seasons. He’s made several puzzling moves, such as trading Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler for barely anything, signing Joakim Noah to a harmful four-year, $72 million contract, and most recently publicly ostracizing the faces of the franchise Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
The same player who represents Phil Jackson’s best move as President could also be at the center of the reason the cranky executive is being dismissed. Phil deserves credit for drafting Porzingis with the 4th overall pick in 2015. But his unwillingness to extend an olive branch to the young Latvian over a missed exit interview has caused tension with the future franchise player, something that even James Dolan could not ignore.
How this move impacts the future of Carmelo Anthony is unclear. After giving ‘Melo a full no-trade clause in the summer of 2014, Phil has severely damaged his own reputation trying to tarnish Anthony’s to force him into wanting to accept a trade.
As Knick fans compose themselves with the Jackson news, rumors are starting to circulate over possible replacements.
Masai Ujiri would be a breath of fresh air to the Knicks organization. The Nigerian-born executive was the NBA Executive of the Year in 2013 and currently serves as President of the Toronto Raptors. He is known for thinking outside of the box, incorporating analytics into his decision-making, and a willingness to accept new ideas in team building.
Stay tuned to The Knicks Wall for more on this breaking news.
— Jeffrey Bellone, columnist
Reid Goldsmith contributed additional commentary to this piece.