After a disaster of a season in New York, Knicks owner James Dolan has made his bold move to save face.
Now we will see if it actually turns the franchise around.
The Knicks have announced they will “hold a press conference on Tuesday, March 18 to make a major announcement.” That would be the press conference to announce Phil Jackson as their President of Basketball Operations, something confirmed by other sources.
Jackson was drafted by the Knicks back in 1967 and won two titles as a player there. He went on to a legendary coaching career where he won a record 11 NBA titles, but this is his first venture into a front office.
Jackson reportedly will make $12 million a year to be the head of New York’s basketball operations. He will set the tone and the guys under him — starting with current GM Steve Mills and the rest of a good but too often ignored staff — will work out the details, the salary cap and the rest of it.
The real question, of course, is the balance of power — can Jackson keep owner James Dolan from injecting himself into player/personnel decisions and making rash, unwise decisions. For example, hijacking the Carmelo Anthony trade talks with Denver from Donny Walsh and offering far too many quality role players for a deadline deal. A trade that left the Knicks without the depth to really compete in the East despite having their star.
If Jackson can keep Dolan at bay, get him to act like most owners, he might have success. Jackson knows the game, and while he hasn’t been in a front office before guys like Jerry West and Pat Riley have successfully made this jump. If he can provide a direction, a structure that will be an improvement over the random assembly of talent without real structure that has been New York in recent years.
What that means for Anthony’s future with the Knicks remains murky.
Jackson and Dolan will eventually clash. It will end badly. It always does with Dolan and often does with Jackson.
The question is how much success do they have before the inevitable ending.