The respected New York Knicks playing career of Phil Jackson is a distant forgotten memory nowadays in comparison to his dreadful tenure as team president.
It seems like every time the name Phil Jackson is referenced in the media there is a strong chance it’s something negative. The ironic thing about all the bad press is that it’s self-inflicted from the former NBA Coach of the Year providing too much information for the public’s consumption.
The team president currently trying to put a struggling franchise back together seems completely different from the beloved blue collar forward that helped the Knicks win their only two NBA championships.
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The events that transpired after Jackson’s infamous press conference to address the current state of the team have sent shockwaves through the organization and the league. The fallout with star player Carmelo Anthony has gone from an in-house issue to a complete mess with players around the league rallying in support of the embattled Knicks forward. The situation even caught the attention of NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts, who released a statement condemning the actions of Jackson.
“We voiced with the commissioner (Adam Silver) today our view on the inappropriate comments by Knicks president Phil Jackson. If players under contract cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards. The door swings both ways when it comes to demonstrating loyalty and respect.”
The other big drama that is taking place after Jackson’s press conference is the blatant exit meeting no-show from second-year forward Kristaps Porzingis. The Latvian big man is heavily pegged by many as the future of the franchise and most valuable player on the team, so his absence for rumored frustration with team management is a huge red flag.
“No, I don’t [think he’s ready]. He’s 21 years old. That’s a big load for anybody to take on. But he’s shown that he’s competitive. He’s shown that he’s got a sense of desire to win, etc. So we’re really pleased with how he’s developed. I think he had some concern this year about physicality, not being able to stand up to all the games physically with his Achilles tendon, back, etc.”
Things seem to be worse among the rest of the Knicks team in regards to their feelings about Jackson and his triangle offense. According to The Vertical, players are privately fuming that they want no part of the organization’s summer slate of triangle offense regimen at the team’s suburban New York practice facility. If this is the case, it’s gonna be a long summer of continued tension for a Knicks organization exhausted by negative press all season.
Jackson was an important role player on those famed Knicks teams that believed heavily in moving the basketball and playing as a team. The emphasis on team led to the two championships and if things keep going sour as they have with Knicks management, it will be the team that will lead to Jackson’s eventual dismissal.