Mike Woodson says Phil Jackson is ‘staying out of the way’ in response to Jackson not watching Knicks practice

11 Comments

Phil Jackson is firmly in place in his new position as president of basketball operations for the Knicks, but all of his efforts appear to be geared toward looking beyond the current campaign.

Jackson was at the team’s practice facility on Wednesday while the team was going through its paces, but Jackson didn’t watch, and according to Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, has yet to give him any direction on how to proceed with the team for what little time is left of the regular season.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Knicks president Phil Jackson was at the Tarrytown facility Wednesday when the club resumed practice after a two-day hiatus, but the Zen Master stayed out of sight.

Woodson said Jackson, considered the greatest coach of all time, didn’t watch practice and has yet to give him any input. Woodson said Jackson’s strategy is to stay out the way.

“I’m sure Phil is just – I gather he’s kind of staying out of the way and letting me do my thing in terms of trying to get this team in the playoffs,” Woodson said. “That’s OK. I’m sure when the time comes we’ll have a chance to sit down and talk and see where we are. But first things first. We’re in the playoff race trying to get this eighth spot. That’s where everybody’s focus should be.’’

Jackson wants no part of this season, and in all likelihood, it’s far too late for him to have any real effect on the team’s ultimate fate.

He will, however, be responsible for building a winner once this season is finished, and that will almost certainly begin with replacing Woodson at the head coaching position. With that being the case, there’s no reason for Jackson to waste valuable time going over philosophies with someone who (in all likelihood) won’t be coaching in New York next season.

Report: Suns to waive Austin Rivers, who becomes unrestricted free agent

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Phoenix Suns need a ball handling guard to go next to Devin Booker, so when they picked up Austin Rivers as part of the Trevor Ariza trade with Washington it made some sense. Rivers is a below replacement level NBA player (who has been serviceable the past couple of seasons), but that’s an upgrade over what the Suns had.

Except Rivers didn’t want to be part of the rebuild in Phoenix. In an unusual and unexpected move, the Suns have agreed to waive him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

It’s an odd move on a few levels. Why didn’t Rivers want to stay in a place the ball would be in his hands more, giving himself a chance to build up his value before free agency next summer? Why didn’t the Suns first try to shop him around and offer to take on another team’s bad/dead contract if they got a pick or other asset? (Rivers can’t be packaged with another player in a trade but he can be moved straight up.)

Finally, how much demand is there among good teams for Rivers, even on a minimum contract?

Rivers, the son of Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers, is in his seventh NBA season. Rivers is averaging 7.2 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting this season.

It’s an odd move. Without Rivers Suns will keep leaning on rookie De'Anthony Melton as a potential future backcourt mate with Booker and hope he develops into something.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn shoves Russell Westbrook, scuffle breaks out (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Russell Westbrook has a way of getting under an opponent’s skin.

Monday night it was the Bulls’ Kris Dunn‘s turn.

While moving over in position on the strong side, Westbrook and Dunn made contact, and after the whistle blew for a foul (with the ball handler), Westbrook made a grand gesture of pushing Dunn off him. Dunn responded with an outsized shove. And then it was on.

There’s more stuff to break down here than the Zapruder film.

• Jeremi Grant of the Thunder came in and tried to go at Dunn a little, in front of Westbrook (protect the star).

Bobby Portis tried to slide Grant out of the way, but…

Robin Lopez came in and went at Grant getting in his face, so Grant basically throws Lopez into the first row.

• Which just made Lopez even madder, leading to a meme-worthy angry face.

• Bulls’ coach Jim Boylen gets Grant in a headlock and pulls him out of the situation.

Steven Adams calmly makes sure Portis is out of the picture, then walks back over to Lopez and then Adams and Lopez get separated.

• In the end, the officials handed out for technicals: Westbrook, Dunn, Grant, and Lopez.

A few minutes later, Lopez blocked a Grant shot, decided to taunt him, and that got Lopez a second technical and he was tossed (Lopez is a veteran, he has to know the officials are going to call everything tight at that point). Watch Adams pat Lopez on the back as the Bulls’ big man makes the walk to the locker room.

James Harden scores 47, including sinking dagger into Jazz (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Utah and Houston met in a battle of the disappointing early season Western teams — predicted by most to finish 2/3 in the West, they came into the night 10th and 13th — and in the tight West these kinds of games matter.

So James Harden turned it up a notch.

The reigning MVP looked every bit that guys scoring 47 points and adding six rebounds, five assists, and five steals in what was a Houston win, 102-97. It was Harden that sank the dagger into Utah.

That’s four wins in a row for Houston as they try to climb out of the hole they dug themselves early this season.

Taj Gibson helps defend drive with one shoe on, one shoe in his hand (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

In the first quarter Monday night, Timberwolves veteran Taj Gibson was working in the post on the Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica, Gibson got the bucket but lost his shoe.

He picked it up, ran to the other end with one shoe in hand, and then defended a Bjelica drive well enough that Karl-Anthony Towns would come over and get the block on the play.

Somehow, Tom Thibodeau is going to get credit for this new defensive style.