PODCAST: The pros and cons for Phil Jackson in considering Knicks job

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Phil Jackson can run the New York Knicks if he wants to. That is the word on the street this morning, although he will NOT become their next head coach. For insight into the reasons why, check out this column from Charley Rosen.

But if he accepts the job, he is going to have his work cutout for him. Although the Knicks have won three straight games and are still in contention for a playoff spot in the East, they still qualify as the most disappointing team in the entire NBA for the 2013-14 season.

And moving forward, the cupboard is bare. The Knicks have traded away their first-round draft picks in 2014 and 2016, along with all of their second-round picks from 2014-17. If Jackson is going to come aboard and make changes, his first order of business will be to keep one thing the same — convincing Carmelo Anthony to remain in New York after he opts out of the final year of his contract.

RELATED: New York Knicks salary cap analysis

If New York is going to make a splash in free agency, it won’t happen for more than a year. That’s when the contracts of Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani come off the cap.

But a hiring of Jackson could tip the balance in New York’s favor this summer when Anthony will be courted by the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, among others. More on the Jackson possibility in this podcast with Jody MacDonald of CBSSportsRadio:

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Rosen: The reasons why Phil Jackson does not want to coach

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Phil JacksonThe latest NBA buzz is that Phil Jackson was offered and turned down the Knicks coaching job. In so doing, he was also reported to have repeated something that he’s said several times before–that his coaching days are over. But a front office job? That would be a different matter.

Here’s what’s behind Phil’s decision to stay away from what he does best — coach teams to championships. Lest we forget, he has 11 rings.

For sure, he’s the best and most successful coach in NBA history, and, after sitting on the sidelines for two seasons, he still has a profound interest, passion, and understanding of the game. The primary reason why he’ll never coach again is his health. He’s already had two hip replacements and one knee replacement, plus it’s been reported that his other knee will also be mechanized.

During his halcyon seasons in the command seat for the Bulls and the Lakers, PJ was always a hands-on coach during virtually every practice session. He would personally demonstrate appropriate footwork; the theory and practice of well-placed elbows on defense; where certain passes should target; the proper way to close out in defense of 3-point shooters; and so on. With the exception of demonstrating how to perform a 360-dunk, Jackson’s contact with his players was practical, demanding, up-close and personal. But with his bionic joints, this approach is no longer available.

Reduced to using only his voice and his body language to instruct, motivate, praise, and correct his charges would be unacceptable.

However, since Phil still has an NBA Jones, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll never again get involved in some way with some team sooner rather than later. Indeed, the most viable possibility would be  assuming total control of a team’s entire basketball program.

That would mean hiring a coach who could revive and perpetuate the triangle offense; hiring scouts who see the game and the players with the same discerning eye that he does; installing strictly a nuts-and-bolts GM; and getting involved with the staffing at every level of the organization from the training staff to the equipment managers. This way, Jackson could operate on a hands-on basis everywhere but on the court.

Duplicating the job description of, say, Pat Riley, Jackson could avoid the physical and psychological discomfort of embarking on long road trips. He would also be removed from having to directly deal with referees.

The Knicks have reportedly offered Jackson this dream job, and an answer could be forthcoming in a matter of days.

james-dolanBut some words of caution: Working for the incompetent and erratic Jim Dolan would be an exercise in frustration. And the free hand that Dolan once promised to Donnie Walsh turned out to be velvet handcuffs. Besides, after PJ has spent so many winters in the warmth and sunshine of Los Angeles, living in the increasingly frigid New York climate might likewise be unacceptable.

He did, remember, turn down the opportunity to be the head honcho in Brooklyn.

What other possibilities might be offered to Jackson?

Atlanta? Sacramento? Working for MJ in Charlotte? The underachieving Grizzlies? Too bad Jackson once called Orlando “a plastic city.”

An interesting possibility might be the Clippers, especially if this overly hyped ball club flops early in the playoffs. Just imagine how many blue-chip free agents would love (Love?) to play in L.A. under the direction of the Zen Master.

I’ve been a buddy of Phil’s for over thirty years, and there’s one thing that I know about him: It’s impossible to know what his plans are.

Charley Rosen is an American author and former basketball coach. From 1983–1986, he was an assistant to Phil Jackson with the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association. He also served as head coach of the Patroons, as well as the CBA’s Rockford Lightning, Oklahoma City Cavalry and Savannah Spirits. A native of The Bronx, N.Y., the 72-year-old Rosen is the author of 16 books about basketball. He is known for his in-depth analysis and caustic views. 

Bernucca: Feeling the Heat, Pacers Had To Make a Move

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Lance StephensonAll season, the Indiana Pacers have maintained that homecourt advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs, and their chemistry will give them a great chance to dethrone the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat.

Are both slipping away?

In the last two weeks, Indiana’s grip on the East’s best record has loosened considerably. And the Pacers’  big move at Thursday’s trading deadline, acquiring Evan Turner, illustrated that their belief in chemistry may have been overstated.

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Larry Bird Returns to Pacers as Team President

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Larry-Bird-Pacers-presidentINDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday that Larry Bird will return to the team as President of Basketball Operations. Bird agreed to a multi-year deal.

Donnie Walsh, who held that position the last year, will be a consultant to the franchise and Kevin Pritchard remains as the Pacers’ General Manager.

“We are all very happy to have Larry back,” said Pacers’ owner Herb Simon.

“When he left last July, Donnie and I both told him the door would be open for him to come back when he’s ready. Larry had a huge impact on this team and where it is now so it’s fitting that he comes back at this time. Donnie has been a friend and a valuable contributor to the franchise and will continue to be both. I wanted him to agree to stay in some capacity as I believe with Larry and Kevin, it gives us three of the best basketball minds in the business.”

Bird was President of Basketball of Operations for the team from 2003 until June 27, 2012. He returns to the position Monday, July 1.

SH Blog: McGrady expresses regret for leaving Raptors; Ibaka expects Martin to leave; Magic trading pick?

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The Toronto Raptors possessed one of the most dynamic and electrifying scoring tandems the league had ever seen at the turn of the century. The only problem? Nobody knew.

Now, nearly fifteen years and six NBA teams later, Tracy McGrady is playing in his first NBA Finals with the San Antonio Spurs. Yesterday, McGrady admitted that he and his cousin, Vince Carter, had squandered an opportunity to build a dynasty by not staying together north of the border.  Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter

At the Spurs’ press conference yesterday, McGrady told the Toronto Suns’ Ryan Wolstat:

“At that time, I think Toronto probably could have competed for championships with the Lakers, that’s what I think.”

However, the Raptors never had an opportunity to realize their full potential. In 2000, McGrady, who was tired of playing in Vince Carter’s shadow, left the Raptors in a sign-and-trade for a max contract in his hometown of Orlando.

McGrady does not blame himself nor the Raptors for the premature ending to what could have been a championship team. Looking back, McGrady admits that he was never sure he would amount to the two-time scoring champion and seven-time all star that he became.

“Toronto, they didn’t know I was capable of that type of performance as far as scoring. I didn’t (even) know I had that in me,” he admitted.

After all, while McGrady was certainly a blue chipper with the Raptors, few could have foreseen him nearly double his scoring average from 15.4 points per game in his final season in Toronto as a 20-year-old to 26.8 points per game in his first season with the Magic as a 21-year-old.

Of course, if the Spurs do end up winning the championship this year, McGrady will have little to do with it. He has become the team’s human victory cigar this postseason, appearing in only four of the Spurs’ 15 postseason games. He has logged zero points in just over 17 minutes of action.

McGrady’s decline, in a way, can serve as a reminder of just how important it is for stars to have strong supporting casts and reasonable minute limits through the course of grueling NBA seasons. While Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are both older than McGrady, they continue to produce at high levels because their Spurs have been powerhouses in the West for years and Gregg Popovich has been masterful at giving them proper rest.

McGrady, on the other hand, had to almost singlehandedly will the Magic and (to a lesser extent) the Rockets to the playoffs on six separate occasions. 

“I had to carry a franchise for a lot of years. I had to do a lot more than a lot of some of these guys do and it caught up for me,” McGrady acknowledged.

Still, McGrady has no complaints with his current situation as a Spurs benchwarmer. When asked about his role for the Spurs, McGrady spoke candidly: “S—, I don’t think I’m going to play. I watch just like you. I just have a better seat.”

Be it as a superstar or super-sub, McGrady has always found a way to enamor the media with golden quotes like this one:

 

Now, let’s see what else is going on around the league:

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