By Stefan Anderson
The last time the New York Knicks have not been to the NBA Finals since the 1998-99 season where they were defeated the San Antonio Spurs, since then Phil Jackson left his dynasty in Chicago and started another one in Los Angeles where they won 5 more rings to add his to resume as arguably, the greatest coach ever. The Knicks since then have been searching for answers swapping many coaches and many players, seeing it darkest days in the past two decades. Hoping to restore their happiness to diehard fans and sometimes delusional (including myself), and the face of their franchise by adding Phil Jackson to their front office.
Jackson is more than likely about to accept the position the Knicks president of basketball operations after declining the head coach position. If hired, Jackson will have a tough job to do, since the Knicks have become a massacre once again due to owner James Dolan and General Manager’s illogical decisions. Phil Jackson can help the Knicks in that department because of his star power and winning efforts, ala Pat Riley to help bring the Knicks to dominance in the Eastern Conference again. It would definitely be challenge which Jackson is not used to after coaching some of the best players in NBA history, Shaq, Kobe, Scottie Pippen and of course Michael Jordan.
The Knicks are not those Bulls team in the 90’s nor the Lakers dynasty of the 2000’s, but have some great options pending Carmelo Anthony decision. Anthony has an early termination option this year and can leave New York to test free agency or stay and collect 23 million for his final season of his contract. But if the Zen Master can keep Anthony in New York for another season, he has options to make a great roster that has not seen any life since former GM Donnie Walsh left the position. The Knicks have traded away all their future first round picks for the next 3 years and are stuck with building their team the hard way through free agency and trades. With expiring contract of Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Andrea Bargnani and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks will have a lot cap space to once again dig in the free agency pool that will feature Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo just to name a few. Or use those hefty expiring contracts, to receive draft picks or gain players to build a championship roster.
Jackson biggest issues will consist of players and what happens on the court, it would be with his boss James Dolan. Dolan has been known to a dictator and makes any one who works under him look foolish. Not to mention his new rivalry with Nets billion dollar owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, who already baited Dolan into trading away the Knicks future that was a decade of painful years for franchise, just to get on Carmelo Anthony, the irony right. The Zen Master will have to use his patience and peaceful ways to help Knicks owner get off his high horse and focus on basketball matters instead of the billion dollar companies MSG and Cablevision. The relationship will be one that will include many fights and disagreements that hopefully work out for the Knicks or can go completely the wrong way and turn into a damper on Jackson’s legacy.
Phil Jackson, other than current Assistant GM Allan Houston, is the best decision for the Knicks president of basketball operations. With Houston introducing his new D-League team in White Plains, NY, the job is open for Jackson to fill. I believe that he can bring the Knicks back despite having no experience as GM, his knowledge of the game can be used in a franchise that has been a wreck in the past years. Jackson is hoping to help Knicks win another championship, the first since 1973, when he played for the Knicks.