Scotto: Phil Jackson Rejuvenates Carmelo Anthony, But Will Melo Stay?

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Phil JacksonThree years ago, New York literally rolled out the red carpet for Carmelo Anthony upon his arrival at Madison Square Garden while blasting “I’m Coming Home” by Diddy.

On Tuesday, as Phil Jackson’s career officially came full circle, his introductory press conference soundtrack included “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” by Bon Jovi and “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen.

Once the offseason begins, the nearly $130 million question is if Anthony and Jackson will return New York to the glory days by performing a new duet called, “Who Says You Can’t Stay Home?”

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Tweet of the Day: Harvard Upsets Many Brackets; NBA Players Discuss

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harvard

The NCAA College Basketball Tournament is underway.

Millions of people had hopes of raking in the cash with Yahoo! and Quicken Loans offering a $1 Billion reward for a perfect bracket. However, most of their hopes have been dashed, thanks in large part to two unlikely upsets.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kent Bazemore is all about it, having played for a mid-major school that made a Cinderella run of its own, stringing along unlikely upsets with Old Dominion from the Colonial Athletic Association.

Tweet of the Day: New York Knicks FINALLY Usher In Phil Jackson Era

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Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks

After what seemed like weeks of deliberation, rumors that he was possibly leveraging the New York Knicks against the Los Angeles Lakers to get the job he (presumably) really wanted, and a lot of TV and radio discussion, the wait is finally over.

Phil Jackson has formally been announced as the Knicks new president of basketball operations.

News coverage for Phil’s new job, from its early discussions to its formal announcement, has been at an all-time high. You can find plenty of coverage here on Sheridan Hoops:

[SHERIDAN: (Podcast) Phil Jackson Isn’t The Only Item Up For Discussion]
[BERNUCCA: Jackson’s Resume Alone Not Nearly Enough To Fix Knicks]
[SCOTTO: (Podcast) Phil Jackson Joining the New York Knicks]
[KAMENETZKY BROS.: Power Rankings: The Phil Jackson Effect … On Both Coasts]
[SH BLOG: Silver wants to raise age limit; who will be Phil’s first coaching hire with Knicks?]
[MAY: Memo to Phil Jackson: Beware the Nest of Vipers at MSG]

Tuesday, New York welcomed its new President home after decades spent elsewhere in the NBA.

Kamenetzky Bros. Power Rankings: The Phil Jackson Effect … On Both Coasts

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Phil_Jackson_3In the eyes of many, the unbridled mess that is the New York Knicks just received the most drastic makeover this side of Ally Sheedy in “The Breakfast Club” upon hiring Phil Jackson as team president and Zen Master Extraordinaire. Hopes are high in the Big Apple, but plenty of question marks linger, even for a man with 11 rings.

It remains to be seen whether Jackson’s arrival provides enough confidence and stability to convince Carmelo Anthony to re-up. (A cynic, however, might suspect Jackson provides the Knicks cover should Melo bolt.) It remains to be seen whether Jackson has the acumen to build a team from the ground up with no front office experience. It remains to be seen whether Jackson, nearly 70 years old, has the energy for this gig’s daily grind and the patience to build the right way.

Most importantly, it remains to be seen whether Jackson can work under owner James Dolan, famously viewed as an egomaniacal and idiotic lunatic seemingly out to destroy Madison Square Garden’s biggest attraction. (He does play a mean guitar, though.)

Still, Jackson oozes gravitas, and that alone could be enough to lure A-list free agents, which is half the battle. Plus, that basketball brain ain’t inconsiderable. A turnaround is hardly a given, but it’s certainly easy to understand why New York would roll the (very expensive) dice.

kobeIn the meantime, Jackson hasn’t held a position with the Los Angeles Lakers since retiring as coach in 2011 and was unlikely to become their employee again. But for some Lakers front office types, players and fans, it feels like an asset and a member of the family has left them.

And that’s precisely why this development might actually be a positive for the Lakers in the long run.

To a very palpable degree, Jackson’s presence has been a paralyzing element for the Lakers. Internally, he’s been a point of contention between Jim and Jeanie Buss (who’s often passive-aggressively exacerbated the situation), and between Jim Buss and Kobe Bryant.

Externally, he is the prism through which fans and media evaluate every decision. Had the front office not foolishly allowed expectations for Jackson’s third stint as coach, Mike D’Antoni likely would have been warmly received. Instead, he became regarded as the guy who should have been P.J.

Jackson’s absence has been blamed for Dwight Howard’s departure, as if other factors (namely, Bryant’s presence) weren’t obvious deterrents as well. And with Jackson theoretically available to be brought into the front office, Buss has been continually crushed for not hiring him. Never mind that Buss would likely have had to surrender his own job for The Zen Master, not to mention alter plans set by the late Dr. Jerry Buss.

If you want to argue keeping Jackson at arm’s length is foolish, fair enough. But it’s nonetheless impossible to deny how the setup is inherently problematic.

Thus, if Jackson wasn’t going to be hired by the Lakers, it’s actually best for him to be officially off the table as an option. For better or worse, he is no longer available to serve as a wedge, and all the important principals have no choice but to truly move forward.

Kobe has a responsibility to support the owner who gave him an exceptionally generous (and cap-clogging) extension. Jeanie has a responsibility to put the franchise first and avoid taking this development personally. And with Jackson no longer casting a shadow, Jim has a responsibility to deliver. Even as someone who thinks Jim has taken some unfair lumps, there’s no question he’s got a lot to prove.

Time for everybody to get to work.

On to the rankings.

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SH Blog: Phil Jackson will officially join Knicks on Tuesday; Rockets to pursue Carmelo Anthony in Free Agency; Klay Thompson first to 500 3′s

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Phil JacksonThe week of March 9th-16th should hence forth be known as Phil Jackson Week.

In the world of basketball at least.

Because as the Zen Master continues to dominate the daily headlines, well, that’s sure what it feels like.  

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