The New York Knicks have been the laughing stock of the National Basketball Association for years now. The last respectable season was the 2012-13 campaign when the team lost in six games to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Although not a magical ending, Knick fans would love to go back to that season where they went 26 games over .500 and grabbed the third seed in the East. Since then, they have a 108-192 record and have not reached the playoffs.
On March 18, 2014, the Knicks signed Phil Jackson, 11-time champion head coach of some of the best teams in NBA history, to a five-year $60 million contract to be president of basketball operations. The hope was that the all-time great would be able to turn around the franchise and recruit stars to play alongside Carmelo Anthony, as well as compete for a championship. Instead, Jackson has embarrassed the Knicks organization and himself, as well as made headlines that only further damaged the franchise as a whole.
Jackson’s first big move as president was to fire head coach Mike Woodson, replacing him with Derek Fisher, a former player of his. Fisher then led the Knicks to the worst record in the history of the organization, finishing 17-65 in 2014-15, and was fired the next year.
Since then, nothing has been extraordinarily better. In fact, the difficulties of this 2017 season have arguably been the worst and most embarrassing for the franchise.
In the offseason, it seemed Jackson was finally taking his job seriously. After refusing to stray away from his obsession of the triangle offense that has not had success in a new-era NBA, and insisting that one does not need an elite point-guard to win, even though the league is now point guard driven, he abandoned both of these strategies. Jackson brought in former MVP Derrick Rose, former defensive player of the year Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings. He also brought in Jeff Hornacek as head coach, who is not a triangle offense strategist.
Fans were finally excited to see a Knicks team compete for a high playoff position with the likes of the best teams in the NBA.
Instead, Jackson has spread rumors and acted more like a child than the president of a professional basketball team.
Over the course of the past month or so, Jackson has been rumored to be shopping for possible trades of the face of the franchise, Anthony.
Meanwhile, Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract, therefore has control over the situation. The two have had their feuds, but those have now gone too far. Anthony has been ridiculed from his own team’s front office publicly, bringing negative attention to the team and Anthony himself.
Jackson has even commented on an article that states Anthony is “addicted to his individual success no matter the experience or insight put around him to teach him something more.” Jackson seemed to agree however, by tweeting that the article, “almost rings the bell.”
Bleacher's Ding almost rings the bell, but I learned you don't change the spot on a leopard with Michael Graham in my CBA daze.
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 7, 2017
Jackson does not realize that New York fans do not care about his coaching success; no matter what he has done with his Hall of Fame career, his legacy will be the lazy, gossiping executive to Knick fans.
Supporters hoped Jackson would change the culture to one of a championship team. However, himself and team owner James Dolan have created a culture that is embarrassing. No one is even on the same page as Jackson. Both Anthony and Dolan have responded with “ask Phil” when questioned about the decisions by the president of the team. There seems to be no organization, professionalism or even interest in improving the franchise.
In no way have the Knicks played up to their full potential. One can speculate that they do not give full effort every night. However, asking a team to rally around a front office that has shown no faith in them is next to impossible. Negativity has been a poison in the Knicks organization and it has spread like wildfire through Jackson and Dolan’s actions.
It seems the Jackson era could still be around for some time. Dolan said on The Michael Kay Show Friday, Feb. 10 that he will honor their agreement “all the way to the end,” which is a scary thought for Knick fans who don’t need to see another two years of foolishness. Therefore, it is in the best interest of Jackson, the New York Knicks organization and everyone involved or rooting for it, that Jackson resign as soon as possible.
Keith Egan is a visual and sound media and journalism major from Tinton Falls, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.