When Phil Jackson came to the Knicks, he got a promise from owner James Dolan that the meddling would stop. Dolan would be the owner, Jackson would have complete control over basketball operations. That in itself seemed like a major victory worthy of $12 million a season.
Three years into the Phil Jackson era, the Knicks are not near a playoff team and are feuding with their star Carmelo Anthony. There is real hope in the form of Kristaps Porzingis, but real questions about whether there is a good plan to build around KP or if Jackson has the ability to do so.
Both the Knicks and Jackson can opt out of their contract this summer, but it doesn’t look like Jackson is going anywhere.
Dolan was on The Michael Kay Show at ESPN New York and the YES Network — and interview where Dolan shot himself in the foot on the Charles Oakley issue — and said the Knicks are not opting out of the deal. Here is what Dolan said, via Ian Begley of ESPN and Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.
On paper, Jackson’s efforts to look for a new home for Carmelo Anthony are the right first steps in reshaping a team around Porzingis. However, Jackson has gone about it in a way that has only angered Anthony and made him want to stay in New York — and since Anthony has a no-trade clause, if he wants to stay he stays.
It’s better for the Knicks to have Jackson in charge of the ship rather than Dolan — Jackson did draft Porzingis (he tried to trade the pick on draft night, but ultimately he did draft the future star), and he does know the game — but there could be better options than those two.
The Knicks just may not see those options for a few years.