Phil Jackson appears to be on his way to the Big Apple.
According to ESPN New York's Ian Begley, the New York Knicks have scheduled a press conference for what's being called a "major announcement":
#Knicks announce they are having a press conference for a "major announcement" on Tuesday.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 14, 2014
Everyone expects the announcement to be that Jackson has been hired in an official capacity. On Thursday, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported that the Knicks had an agreement in place with the legendary head coach that would seem him run the basketball operations:
Jackson will be given carte blanche to revamp the Knicks’ basketball operations and may hire a general manager to run the day-to-day operations. Jackson will likely remove Mike Woodson as head coach and hire someone to run his renowned “Triangle Offense.” TNT broadcaster Steve Kerr, who played for Jackson in Chicago, is already emerging as a candidate.
You could have easily guessed that news like this would set social media ablaze. Jackson is arguably the greatest head coach of all time, and now he'll reportedly be asked to get one of the NBA's marquee franchises back on track.
Here, Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher and Howard Beck debate what Jackson will mean for the Knicks:
Isola was a bit surprised by the timing of the announcement, as bad news is usually shoved to late Friday afternoon so as to avoid much attention:
I thought only bad news gets released late Friday afternoon.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 14, 2014
CBSSports.com's Matt Moore pointed out that taking this job means that Jackson will be in direct competition with fiance Jeanie Buss, who's president of the Los Angeles Lakers:
So.... technically....Phil Jackson and his fiancee are in competition.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 14, 2014
Speaking of the Lakers, ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne reported that the Buss family had interest in bringing back their former coach, but they weren't prepared to offer him as much power as the Knicks were:
While Buss family had an interest in bringing Jackson back to the Lakers, there was never going to be a role w/ LA w/ as much power as NYK— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) March 14, 2014
Many wonder what this might mean for Carmelo Anthony's future. He can opt out this summer, and with New York's malaise, it's looking like that he'll play elsewhere for the 2014-15 season.
Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding thinks that Kobe Bryant isn't going to offer Melo a ringing endorsement of Jackson:
Using my imagination... Kobe to Carmelo: "You don't want to play in that stupid triangle. It's the worst!"— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) March 14, 2014
Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal reported that Anthony plans to met with the new Knicks czar when the deal becomes official:
Melo says he'd look forward to sitting down with Phil if and when he's hired.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) March 14, 2014
The two might have a lot to talk about, as Jackson offered plenty of criticism about Anthony back in 2013. It appears that Melo won't take the critiques too personally:
Carmelo said he heard Phil Jackson's critiques about him before. Says he's not really sure how to respond, but that it might have ...— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) March 14, 2014
... been accurate to say that he shot too much in the past. Melo feels his game has evolved in past 2 yrs, though.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) March 14, 2014
Figuring out what to do with Anthony will be one of Phil's biggest tasks this offseason, but it's only the start of what will be an arduous rebuilding process in New York.
CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb thinks this will be a great chance to Jackson to display his basketball mind with a much worse team than he had in either Chicago or Los Angeles. If Phil can bring an NBA title to the Knicks, it will have been his greatest accomplishment:
Welp you all wanted to see what Phil could do w/a bad roster #Knicks— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) March 14, 2014
B/R's Ethan Norof, though, made the astute point that Jackson is entering with little chance that his reputation will be harmed. Should things go wrong, James Dolan will receive all of the criticism:
Phil Jackson walks into #Knicks front office wearing teflon…untouchable. If it goes wrong? Built in excuse with James Dolan. Unbelievable.— Ethan Norof (@Mr_Norof) March 14, 2014
Shelburne and Chris Broussard reported on ESPN.com that Jackson would receive a deal worth $12 million per year. To some, that may seem too much money. WCBS 880's Gordon Damer put it in perspective:
The Knicks going to pay Phil Jackson only $1 million more than Andrea Bargnani. Phil is a bargain.— Gordon Damer (@gordondamer) March 14, 2014
Given the Knicks' recent history, there's every reason to think that this will become a catastrophic failure.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard is already anticipating Jackson spilling all the gruesome details in an upcoming book:
Already excited for two years from now, when Phil Jackson writes a tell-all book about his time with the Knicks.— Chris Ballard (@SI_ChrisBallard) March 14, 2014
Some took to Twitter to entertain the idea that this upcoming press conference will be for a decidedly different reason.
Grantland writer netw3rk envisions Allan Houston assuming the Phil Jackson role. At least that would eliminate the possibility that the Knicks give Houston another six-year, $100 million contract:
"Hello. I'm not going to waste any time. It's my pleasure to announce Allan Houston as the new president and GM of the New York Knicks."— netw3rk (@netw3rk) March 14, 2014
David Roth of SB Nation and The Classical wonders if Dolan is waiting for as long as he can to give enough time for Isiah Thomas to make a final decision:
Knicks waiting until Tuesday for their "major announcement" because Dolan is double-checking that Isiah REALLY doesn't want the gig.— David Roth (@david_j_roth) March 14, 2014
In all seriousness, though, the Knicks are a complete mess right now, and bringing in Jackson is one of those moves that could save the franchise. Or it could blow up massively in their faces, a la the Larry Brown hiring.
Whatever the result, it should be entertaining.