Report: Phil Jackson wants to leave Knicks in two years (update: or not)


Update: Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

That makes more sense. I still find it interesting Jackson openly talks about this as a short-term exercise. The rest of this post applies, just on a smaller scale. The Knicks might be more than four years away.


Phil Jackson was too old. He was too unhealthy. He was too interested in other fields.

There seemed to be numerous reasons he wouldn’t return to the NBA.

But a five-year, $60 million contract changed his mind, and he joined the Knicks as president.

Money goes only so far, though.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

Jackson has four years left on his contract and speaks openly about this being a short-term exercise. He wants to put the franchise on solid footing, then turn it over to the next guy—ideally before a potential labor stoppage in 2017.

That gives Jackson just two offseasons – and there’s good chance that’s not enough time to set the Knicks straight.

They have only one above-average starter, Carmelo Anthony. At 31, he’s likely past his prime, and injuries remain a concern. His massive contract makes it more difficult to upgrade the roster around him.

Kristaps Porzingis is a great piece, but like most rookies he needs time to develop.

Derek Fisher hasn’t proven he’s the right coach. Considering he retired from playing just before getting the job last year, he deserves more time to adjust to coaching. But there’s a decent chance the Knicks are just spinning their wheels with him.

They’ve also already traded their 2016 first-round pick and have no incoming first-rounders. With plenty of cap space this summer, the Knicks have a chance to make major strides this offseason. But if that doesn’t work, they can’t fall back on another high lottery pick.

This is a difficult tightrope to walk. If the Knicks successfully cross it, great. But if not, will Jackson stick around for a second try?

Kristaps Porzingis and the power of patience


NEW YORK – As Adam Silver walked to the podium to announce the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, everyone in the media area who saw Adrian Wojnarowski’s tweet regarding the Knicks’ selection knew what was in store for Kristaps Porzingis when his name came out of the commissioner’s mouth.

On cue the Knicks faithful showered the 7’ 1” 19-year old from Latvia with a downpour of boos as he made his way up to shake Silver’s hand. It was quite the response for the franchise’s highest draft pick since Patrick Ewing in 1985 and it’s something that Porzingis is determined to erase during his time in New York.

“I have to do everything that’s in my hands to turn those booing fans into clapping fans,” Porzingis said after holding up his freshly printed number 15 Knicks jersey. It’s a task that’s not going to be easy, but the seven footer has the type of game that could quickly turn New York’s perception of him.

Porzingis possesses an offensive skill set that has the chance to be otherworldly. His silky smooth shooting stroke will be on display right out of the box. He can spot up from beyond the arc and pull up off of the dribble. He can post up and score inside thanks to his extremely long frame. It’s easy to fall in love with his potential as a big in the Triangle Offense.

Beyond his offensive abilities, Porzingis’ extremely long frame (his wingspan has been rumored to be anywhere between 7’ 3” and 7’ 6”) allows him to cover quite a bit of ground on defense. If a guard gets around him, he has the length to alter their shot at the rim. If he traps on a pick-and-roll, he has the agility to recover and get back in front of his man.

Besides the obvious question marks about coming over from Europe, Porzingis’ body has been knocked during the draft process (Someone who is reading this just thought to themselves, well Darko was soft!), but the discussion about his body type has been blown out of proportion. Yes his body is a bit awkward and does resemble a baby giraffe, but so many people have been shouting that he needs to put on weight. Newsflash, he’s going to put on weight. Every player who enters the league is put on a weight training program in order to maximize their body.

There is film of Porzingis being knocked around by guys in the paint who are four to five inches smaller than him,

but over the next couple of years his body will evolve as he transforms from a 19-year old kid into a man, which will give him the ability to handle contact under the basket.

There’s just so much to like about Porzingis, but it’s hard to sell his potential that to a fanbase who is desperate to see a quick turnaround even though there doesn’t appear to be one in sight. Carmelo Anthony is an aging superstar who is coming off of knee surgery and is in desperate need of a stable foundation around him because right now the Knicks’ roster beyond Melo looks like this:


Phil Jackson could pull off a couple of miracles in free agency due to the abundance of cap space New York has, but the Knicks haven’t been linked to any of the top free agents, unless you count pipe-dreams of Marc Gasol. The Knicks may have to go about this rebuilding process a different way, by developing their high draft picks into stars and that all begins with Porzingis.

“It’s crazy, you know for me, just playing in New York. Phil Jackson is a known hero,” Porzingis said. “First I’ll make sure I do my work, and he’ll make sure he puts me in a position where I can succeed.”

Now it’s Porzingis’ job to become the next known hero in New York.

Twitter – @ScottDargis

Phil Jackson doubtful Knicks have the assets necessary to trade for DeMarcus Cousins


The Knicks are expected to keep the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, as opposed to including it in a trade to move down to possibly get a veteran who could provide immediate help alongside a lower-rated first-round prospect.

Phil Jackson, of course, would like to inject more immediate life into the organization. But after last season’s fire sale that saw New York get rid of everyone relevant not named Carmelo Anthony, there simply aren’t enough enticing players in place to deal for one of the league’s star players — like DeMarcus Cousins, for example — and Jackson knows that.

From Peter Botte of the New York Daily News:

Jackson doubted the Knicks will have enough assets to be in play for available All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins of Sacramento.

“I wouldn’t want to talk about that. I don’t think it’s fair to disclose that,” Jackson said. “Sacramento’s gone through changes. They changed their front office personnel. We’re aware of the situation. We understand the possibilities. We’re just going to see what falls out.

“We don’t know if we have enough stuff to even be in the talk, but we’re aware of what’s going on.”

It’s unclear if being “aware” of the potential rift between Cousins and Kings head coach George Karl is due to the widely-publicized media reports, or if Jackson knows more due to information gleaned via talks with those in the Kings front office.

But he’s right in that New York simply has nothing of value to give in order to get back a player with Cousins’ capabilities.

Phil Jackson is surprised he didn’t get any votes for Executive of the Year


Phil Jackson recently gave a wide-ranging interview to Scott Cacciola of the New York Times. He touched on a variety of topics, including Carmelo Anthony’s rehab (which he says is going “swimmingly”), James Dolan’s hiring of Isiah Thomas to run the New York Liberty (he didn’t have a lot to do with it) and an (extremely NSFW) explanation of his infamous “goink” Twitter typo. Most amusing, though, was his contention that he should have gotten some votes for Executive of the Year, despite the Knicks winning just 17 games.

Q. You came to the Knicks a little over a year ago. Knowing what you know now, would you have still taken the job?

JACKSON: Without a doubt. I knew it was going to be a challenge. We just didn’t have any room to work last year. We knew that we were going to have to make big changes with the limitations that we had, being in a locked-in situation as far as the salary cap goes. That’s why when I said recently that I didn’t know why I wasn’t given some votes for executive of the year, I wasn’t kidding. I was really serious. We had a yeoman’s job of having to get rid of a lot of fat on our roster to get to where we are. I saw Mitch Kupchak got a vote, so I know some people valued what the Lakers were doing obviously.

The comment was some serious shade at Jackson’s former employer. It’s completely ridiculous to expect that Jackson would get any consideration for that award at this juncture, when the Knicks are at the lowest point of a rebuilding effort. How he handles the coming years, including next week’s draft and the following two summers of free agency, will do a lot to determine the success of his tenure in New York. As of now, though, it’s a complete disaster.

LeBron James on upcoming contract negotiations: “I’m happy where I’m at”


When LeBron James made the decision to return to Cleveland after four years in Miami, he signed a new contract with an eye on 2016, when the league would receive an influx of new TV money. His deal was for two years, with a one-year opt-out, which he’s expected to use. However, before Game 5 of the Finals, he insisted that he hasn’t even thought about this upcoming decision yet.

From Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

Predictably, that’s where James’ focus is today, and not on the business decisions waiting regarding his contract this summer. A secondary, but no-less-symbolic reason he’s not thinking about his contract: James said last week he’s “happy” in Cleveland.

“Ha, I haven’t even thought about that until you just said something,” James told the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “I’ll tackle all of that after the season, but, yeah, I’m happy where I’m at.”

There isn’t a lot of drama surrounding this free agency decision, the way there was last summer. It would be legitimately shocking if he left Cleveland again, given all the talk about wanting to come home and build something long-term in his home state. The advantage to opting out would be the ability to sign another one-year deal worth slightly more than the second-year player option on his current contract.

After taking less money to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in 2010, James has been clear that he’s not going to take any more discounts. That’s why he signed the short-term deal, rather than a longer contract like Carmelo Anthony did when he re-signed in New York. Whether he picks up his option or opts out and signs another short-term deal, James’ plan is going to be to sign a long-term deal in 2016, when he can make significantly more money than he could under the current salary cap.