Updates from Friday, Mar. 14
Marc J. Spears announced the news everyone was waiting on:
Knicks to hold press conference on Tuesday to announce Phil Jackson as their next president at Chase Square at Madison Square Garden.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) March 14, 2014
Adrian Wojnarowski added to that:
New York is calling it a "press conference to make major announcement," at 11 a.m. inside Madison Square Garden.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) March 14, 2014
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Chris Broussard report that Jackson's deal with the Knicks is expected to be finalized on Friday:
Todd Musburger, Jackson's Chicago-based agent, is in Los Angeles to finalize the contract with Jackson and Knicks officials, according to sources.
Updates from Thursday, Mar. 13
New York Post reporter Marc Berman has an update on Jackson:
Mike Woodson wants a chance to state his case to Phil Jackson why he should remain the Knicks coach. He could get his chance Tuesday.
The Knicks are making preliminary arrangements to hold their Phil Jackson introductory press conference that day on the Garden floor, according to an NBA source.
Updates from Wednesday, March 12
Marc Berman of The New York Post hints that perhaps Phil Jackson is closer to joining the Knicks' front office than previously thought:
Carmelo says told Phil will be joining franchise, They came to him couple of days ago.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) March 12, 2014
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News is reporting that Jackson keeps changing the terms of the agreement:
I'm hearing that Phil Jackson keeps changing the terms of his deal with Knicks. Could mean money and/or living arrangement and/or power.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 12, 2014
Then late Wednesday night Greg Anthony reported on NBA TV that Jackson has agreed to join the Knicks front office.
Anthony tweeted about it as well:
The Knicks and Jackson have yet to confirm the report.
Updates from Tuesday, March 11
New York Post reporter Marc Berman is reporting that the Knicks and Jackson have an agreement in principle:
Phil Jackson has reached an agreement in principle to oversee the Knicks basketball operations and “president’’ will be in his title, according to a league source.
All that’s left is the lawyers finalizing the last contract details by week’s end before Jackson officially returns to the organization that drafted him and where he won two titles as a player.
The Post has learned Jackson gave the Knicks a verbal commitment on Saturday. The Garden still will not comment on Jackson’s status.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that James Dolan has enlisted Bill Bradley's help in acquiring Jackson's services:
The Daily News has learned that Dolan has solicited the help of Bradley, Jackson’s former Knicks teammate and longtime friend, to serve as an intermediary in the club’s negotiations with the Hall of Fame coach, who is contemplating a lucrative deal to run the Knicks.
According to a person close to Jackson, Dolan and Bradley have been working together to finalize an agreement that would make Jackson the highest-paid basketball executive in NBA history.
The source claims that reports of Jackson being offered an annual salary of $12 million are erroneous and that Jackson could be looking at a deal that pays him in excess of $15 million. The person close to Jackson also indicated that the two sides have had preliminary discussions about Jackson possibly owning a minority stake in the team.
A meeting the Knicks conducted with Phil Jackson regarding a potential head-coaching position did not go too well, according to Isola:
Offering Phil Jackson the head coaching job with the Knicks may end up costing Steve Mills his job.
Mills’ meeting with Jackson two weeks ago was a “disaster,” according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. Jackson rejected the chance to replace Mike Woodson on the bench and instead is considering a move into the front office after speaking with Garden chairman James Dolan.
“Phil doesn’t want to work with Steve,” said a person close to Jackson. “Mills doesn’t know what to think now. Dolan is calling the shots on this one.”
While Jackson may not see eye to eye with the Knicks' new GM, Chris Broussard of ESPN reports that he will likely still join forces with the struggling franchise:
Source: Phil Jackson and NYK expected to finalize deal by end of the week. Announcement could be made next week.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) March 11, 2014
Updates from Monday, March 10
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports the Knicks are hoping to receive a decision from Phil Jackson regarding a front-office position within the organization soon:
The Knicks are hoping Phil Jackson will tell them on Monday that he is up to the challenge of running a franchise that last won an NBA championship in 1973.
According to an NBA source familiar with the negotiations, the Knicks expect to have a decision on Monday, approximately two weeks after Jackson turned down an offer to coach the club. The 68-year-old Hall of Fame coach is considering a lucrative deal to join the Knicks’ front office and be placed in charge of the basketball operations.
Isola also provided a statement from an anonymous general manager discussing the latest rumors:
The Knicks and Phil are getting exactly what they want out of this. The Knicks are showing that they want to do something and this is a chance for Phil to get the Lakers to make a move. If they don’t, he can take the Knicks’ money.
Chris Broussard of ESPN is also reporting that Jackson is expected to take the job with the Knicks:
League source: All indications are that Phil Jackson will accept NYK front-office job. Title not yet clear, but not coach or mere consultant— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) March 10, 2014
Source: "the Knicks have a sense of what's going to happen, & as of rt now, looks like Phil's taking job....(con't )— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) March 10, 2014
(Con't) "there's always the possibility of something falling apart at last minute, but the Knicks' sense is that he's joining them."— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) March 10, 2014
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports later reported that the two sides are not close to an agreement:
As I reported in column, still no assurance an agreement will be reached. No one in Jackson's world thinks deal is "close," that's for sure.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) March 11, 2014
Updates from Saturday, March 8
ESPN's SportsCenter passed along the latest on the Knicks and Phil Jackson:
THIS JUST IN: Phil Jackson is leaning toward taking job with Knicks to become president of basketball operations. (via @stephenasmith)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 8, 2014
Marc Berman of the New York Post later added, "'It’s real close,’' the league source said."
The New York Knicks are desperate to shake things up, win some games and keep Carmelo Anthony in the Big Apple, so it should come as little surprise to learn that the team reportedly met with Hall of Famer Phil Jackson about becoming its next head coach.
However, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that "Phil Jackson has been offered a front office position with the Knicks and is expected to give the club a decision sometime next week."
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne added to that:
Re: Phil Jackson/NYK: No secret he wants to work again. He's been clear saying he wants a Riley role. Lets see what role is actually offered— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) March 7, 2014
According to the staff of ESPN, Knicks president and general manager Steve Mills spoke with Jackson two weeks ago about the opportunity. However, Jackson reportedly rebuffed the offer and explained that he was “not interested in the position at this time.”
Isola also took to Twitter to try and rationalize why the Knickerbockers would attempt to lure Jackson from retirement after he made it clear last year he wasn’t interested in heading up a mediocre Los Angeles Lakers squad:
Knicks go after Phil Jackson despite him saying repeatedly he has no interest in coaching and proving just that his last year with Lakers.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 7, 2014
He believes that the Knicks are only interested in “winning the press conference” that comes with an intriguing report like this:
But Phil Jackson is a big name, the Knicks will win the press conference and ultimately that's all that matters to them.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 7, 2014
However, if the Zen Master was willing to return to the NBA, Isola believes that the Knicks wouldn’t hesitate to let him run the team:
That said, I do believe the Knicks would hire Phil Jackson to run the team. In a heartbeat— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 7, 2014
Carmelo commented on the situation via Ian Begley of ESPN New York:
Carmelo on Phil Jackson rumors: "I haven’t heard anything of that nature. So it’s hard for me to speak on something I don’t know about."— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 8, 2014
The Knicks aren’t the first New York-based franchise to speak with Jackson about a coaching job, as the Brooklyn Nets reportedly gauged the 68-year-old’s interest in filling their head coaching vacancy after firing P.J. Carlesimo in 2013.
However, Jackson decided to turn down that offer and instead took a position advising the Detroit Pistons during their search for a new head coach this past offseason.
Isola noted that it wasn’t the most successful arrangement:
Of course, Phil was last seen advising Pistons ownership to hire Mo Cheeks and that experiment ended after 50 games.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 7, 2014
It’s likely going to cost the Knicks, or another team, a pretty penny if they somehow plan to convince the 11-time NBA championship-winning head coach to come back to the sidelines.
How much money (that will be passed onto the consumer) is enough to convince Phil Jackson to come to MSG? I'm guessing...a whole lot.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 7, 2014
When he threw his hat into the ring for the Lakers’ opening after the team fired Mike Brown five games into the 2012-13 campaign, Jackson’s list of demands reportedly included a slice of ownership and permission to let his assistants handle the coaching duties for certain road games in addition to an exorbitant salary.
However, the odds of the Knicks offering all that and convincing Jackson that they are in position to win in the immediate future are immensely slim. There is an even slimmer chance that the Zen Master would be willing to take up coaching responsibilities after being away from the game since the 2011 NBA playoffs.
As per Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, Jackson revealed last summer that his final season was a favor to the late Dr. Jerry Buss and that he would prefer to return to the game in a front office capacity, if at all:
"It's those long flights and three o'clock nights—getting up after five hours of sleep and going back to work, those are the things that wear you out," Jackson said before bluntly stating, "I have no intention of coaching."
The Knicks certainly aren’t a great situation to return to for the aging legend. The team is currently third in the Atlantic Division at 22-40. New York is sitting in 10th place in the abysmal Eastern Conference, 5.5 games back of the eight-seeded Atlanta Hawks.
To make matters worse, the franchise is facing the very real possibility of superstar Anthony opting out of his contract this offseason and defecting to another organization. It’s been a long season for Knicks fans and may only get worse this summer.
Will the Knicks find a way to hire Jackson?
While day-dreaming about the Zen Master coming in and rescuing this team from mediocrity may be fun for Knicks fans, it’s simply an unrealistic expectation.
New York is staring down a tough summer and needs to rebuild from the ground up. This team can dig itself out of its current hole, but it’s going to take hard work and determination, not the hiring of a man who has no interest in returning to coaching.