Phil Jackson doesn’t want to coach the New York Knicks, but it remains to be seen if he’s willing to steer their bumbling front-office back in the right direction. Jackson – who’s an unpaid consultant with the Lakers, and somewhat oddly, the Pistons as well – has reportedly been offered a management role with the Knicks. Per the NY Daily News:
According to an NBA source, Garden Chairman James Dolan has met with Jackson about a potential return to the franchise where he was a member of the Knicks’ only two championship teams. Jackson also won 11 titles as a head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers but apparently has no interest in coaching the Knicks.
Jackson was set to join Seattle’s front office until the Sacramento Kings reached a deal to stay in Northern California. He most recently served as a consultant for the Detroit Pistons who fired head coach Maurice Cheeks after just 50 games.
Dolan’s play to land Jackson makes sense on several levels, especially with the Knicks front office in complete chaos and with the team just 22-40 entering Friday’s game against Utah. Jackson provides instant credibility and the allure of leading the franchise back to their first championship since his mentor Red Holzman last did it in 1973 is something that appeals to Jackson.
It is unclear what position the Knicks offered but the NBA source said that it would be “more than just a consulting job.” If Jackson is put in charge of the front office it would represent the first time he has done so in his illustrious career. Moreover, it remains to be seen if Jackson, who has had health problems in the past, would have the energy and appetite to want to scout.
The other major stumbling block would be Jackson’s ability to work with Dolan, who has a history of being a meddling owner. Jackson would be handsomely compensated and will likely be promised full autonomy. Of course, the same was true of Donnie Walsh, an executive with more experience who was eventually forced out by Dolan after Dolan hijacked the Carmelo Anthony negotiations from Walsh.
Anthony’s future could also be impacted by Jackson’s potential hiring. Dolan wants to re-sign Anthony, who can become a free agent on July 1st but Jackson may have other plans. Last year, he called the Knicks roster “clumsy” and specifically singled out Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.