New York Knicks: Phil Jackson and the wrath of James Dolan
There are many reasons the New York Knicks are in such a sad condition. It’s obvious that James Dolan placed that blame on Phil Jackson.
When The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the New York Knicks were parting ways with Phil Jackson, there was once again joy in Madison Square Garden. James Dolan has made plenty mistakes as the Knicks owner, including hiring Phil Jackson.
However, firing Phil is one decision that almost everyone in the NBA agrees with.
In the last few weeks, Dolan accelerated the blame-shifting to Phil Jackson with his now infamous “Ask Phil” phrase. Yet, Dolan did exactly what every fan wants their team owner to do: spend money and get out of the way.
On the night of the 2017 NBA Draft, Dolan chose to play a gig with his band instead of paying attention to his Knicks. Even in the weeks heading up to the draft with rumors surrounding a Kristaps Porzingis trade, Dolan was silent. Phil Jackson had just enough rope to hang himself and that’s exactly what he did.
A fireable offense
There are countless failures in the Phil Jackson regime that led to his demise. Instability at head coach, the treatment of Carmelo Anthony and the breakdown in the team’s relationship with Porzingis were all major mistakes.
However, his most glaring failure was an idiotic obsession with force-feeding an outdated offense.
James Dolan doesn’t know anything about basketball. But that’s why he hired one of the greatest coaches of all time to run his team. Unfortunately, Phil turned out to be a one-trick pony who rode the backs of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant into the Hall of Fame. The triangle offense became a false idol that Phil worshiped and it destroyed the New York Knicks.
Should’ve seen it coming
Phil Jackson had no interest in managing any basketball team, including the New York Knicks. It took James Dolan unloading truckloads of cash for Phil to accept an offer he couldn’t refuse. His hiring proved to be a mistake early on in the process.
Failed trades, an inexcusable no-trade clause and a public battle with Carmelo all pointed to the fact that Phil just didn’t care. Knicks fans saw the train wreck happening in slow motion but could do nothing to stop it.
Eventually, the public embarrassment became too much and James Dolan was forced to make a move. The damage has been done, but the saddest part is that it didn’t have to be that way.
Instead of hiring a legitimate team manager, Dolan wanted to make a splash by hiring Phil Jackson. Yet, that splash became a team drowning in debt, a lack of assets and no direction for the future.
Where to now?
The good news for the Knicks is the next guy can’t be as bad as Phil Jackson. Wojnarowski reports that Dolan is eyeing Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors as the next team president.
Other names will come forth, including former Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin, to repair the damage done by Phil. James Dolan will clearly spend money and he can’t afford to mess up his next hire.
Between Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, Carmelo and Willy Hernangomez, the Knicks do have talent on their team. The future of Jeff Hornacek may be unclear but this much is true: Kurt Rambis must go. Rambis is an awful coach who was a Phil Jackson spy that no one on the team likes.
This sad condition of the New York Knicks is a disease that needs intense inoculation. Firing Phil Jackson was a positive first step, but the work is far from over.
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