According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the New York Knicks are expected to finalize a deal with Phil Jackson to bring the legendary head coach into the organization in a major front office role:
“Everything is pretty much done,” the source said. “There are just some little things here and there that need to be worked out, but the Knicks are very confident that this is essentially done.”
An official announcement might not come until next week, the source said.
There has been speculation that Jackson is using the Knicks to get a top-flight job with another franchise, particularly the Los Angeles Lakers, but the source said the Knicks have no fear of Jackson leaving them at the altar for another team.
Jackson will take over the Knicks’ basketball operations department from president and general manager Steve Mills. Mills, however, will remain an integral part of the organization, according to the source.
The questions and criticisms remain the same: how much time will Jackson spend in New York? With no front office experience is he even fit for this role? Does Jackson have the drive to put in the work necessary to fix this mess?
At the moment, answering any of that is impossible.
All we know is Jackson has a wonderful basketball mind, which he can back up with his 13 championship rings he’s compiled over the course of his playing and coaching career.
But Jackson will not be the first former player and/or coach to step into a front office position. And at the end of the day, everyone has their first day on the job just as Pat Riley and Jerry West did before:
“I think if he has the wherewithal to understand that these jobs are difficult, that they’re frustrating and he’s not going to be able to coach the players unless he wants to, I’m sure he could do a great job,” Jerry West told The New York Post on Monday night. “Coaching and being an executive are different things. But he has a lot to draw on in terms of experience with players, how to organize teams and how to put them together. The biggest thing to learn is that you’re going to need a lot of really good players.”
No matter where the commentary is coming from on this proposed marriage between Jackson and the Knicks the rhetoric remains the same. If it isn’t clear what Jackson needs to do to succeed under such high pressure, ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor laid it out plain and simple on Monday:
Jackson has to know that he can’t have it both ways here, that he can’t take the power and the cash and not the never-ending obligations that come with it. The lord of the rings can’t lord over the Knicks from a faraway beach or ranch, doing whatever it is that Zen Masters do.
Jackson has to move to New York, and start grinding 24/7, for the Knicks to have any shot of emerging as a legitimate contender in two or three years. And really, if he has no intention of doing that, he should let the Knicks go scramble for another savior they can prop up for the fans who are mobilizing against them.
Jackson to the Knicks appears to becoming more than a realistic possibility. While we are closer to understanding the details of his role and title within the organization, it is still unclear what life is going to be like with Jackson at the helm. For an idea of what his first day might look like, look no further than what the boss, Chris Sheridan, has to say.
But of course, this is not only about Jackson’s first day on the job.
Every marriage starts out happy.
It’s all about how long this thing can really last, and how successful it’s going to be. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports does not anticipate Jackson and Dolan riding off into the sunset together. In other words: this is not going to end well.
Make no mistake: Thus far, there’s no assurance Jackson will come work for the Knicks. If he does, history tells us the Jackson-Dolan dynamic will end horribly for everyone. Dolan will declare a betrayal, and Jackson will walk away with tens of millions of Cablevision’s dollars and a fistful more on a publishing advance to ridicule Dolan’s meddling ways and distance himself from whatever failures occurred on his watch.
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