May: The Future of Four Floundering Flagship Franchises

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We are about to witness what may be a first in the long history of the NBA. For the first time, four of the JacksonKnicksleague’s flagship franchises could well be out of the playoffs.

OK, the Knicks aren’t technically out of the race in the Hindenburg Conference, but they have a lot of ground to make up on Atlanta – four games in the loss column with 13 to play. The Celtics, Lakers and 76ers all are making plans for the 2014 draft lottery and the riches it may (or may not) provide.

Twenty years ago, the Celtics, Lakers and Sixers all missed the postseason, but the Pat Riley-coached Knicks made it all the way to the NBA Finals, losing in seven games to the Houston Rockets. That remains the best Knicks’ playoff run since the 1973 championship season (moreso than their surprising appearance in the 1999 Finals, where they were decided underdogs to the Spurs and lost in five.)

But at no time since 1949, when the Lakers entered the NBA in Minneapolis, and the 76ers came in as the Syracuse Nationals, have all four of these marquee teams been on the outside looking in when the playoffs arrived. (The Celtics and Knicks started in 1946.)

SH Blog: Stoudemire wants to win multiple championships with Knicks, Nash ready to play on Friday

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amare_stoudemireFor power forward Amare Stoudemire, the past few years in New York have been nothing short of a dreadful nightmare.

After reviving the New York Knicks with dominant play in his first season and leading them to the playoffs for the first time in a decade, it has been just about all downhill for the former All-Star.

To recap some of the things that have gone wrong since that glorious year: he nearly destroyed his hand after slapping a glass casing surrounding a fire extinguisher out of frustration during a playoff series, has suffered through multiple knee surgeries, became a backup to – gulp – Andrea Bargnani, has seen limited playing time due to medical restrictions, and never truly got comfortable playing alongside Carmelo Anthony. 

SH Blog: Anthony says he and Phil Jackson are on the same page right now, Woodson says he can teach Triangle offense

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Carmelo AnthonyIf you are a Knicks fan and sweating Carmelo Anthony’s free agency status heading into the summer, you should probably feel thrilled about the arrival of Phil Jackson. Why?

Because he may be the key to retaining the coveted small forward.

Despite the tumultuous year the Knicks have had, and despite making a run at the playoffs a bit too late into the season, Jackson’s presence has seemingly brought a sense of fresh start to everyone in the organization – from top to bottom. And according to Jackson, Anthony is a great player and would do just fine in a Triangle-oriented system. Compliments from the Zen Master has Anthony fired up, according to Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

Phil Jackson believes Carmelo Anthony can take his game to “another level.” How does Carmelo Anthony feel about that?

“We’re on the same page,” Anthony said on Wednesday, shortly before tip-off of the Knicks-Pacers game. 

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PODCAST: Who will coach the Knicks if Mike Woodson is fired?

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I already told you yesterday that Mike Woodson needs to lead the Knicks into the playoffs to keep his job. No easy task, but when Phil Jackson says repeatedly that he expects this year’s team to make the postseason, the bar has been set.

And if the Knicks fail?

Well, there will be a new coach at the helm, and since Jackson is not ingratiated with the larger coaching fraternities out there, you can cross out names such as Jeff Van Gundy, Stan Van Gundy and George Karl.

Steve Kerr’s name has been thrown out there, and he is an intriguing candidate because he knows the triangle system. But two other coaches are known as system coaches, and both have stellar resumes.

SH Blog: NBA reacts to Phil Jackson hire; Kerr denies interest in Knicks; Cuban says Dirk will never be traded

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photo (2)Phil Jackson was officially introduced as president of the New York Knicks on Tuesday during a press conference held at Chase Square just outside of the newly renovated Madison Square Garden.

Jackson was introduced by the enigmatic James Dolan, who both offered a great deal of insight and explanation into how this power relationship materialized, from which we learned began a few months ago. 

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