Phil Jackson is heading back to New York as the Knicks’ next president.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports and Chris Broussard of ESPN pointed out that the official announcement from the team will likely come Tuesday:
Jackson played for New York from 1967 to 1978, so it would almost be fitting if this is the last stop in his basketball career.
From a Knicks perspective, this is an impressive move that at least gives a fanbase that has suffered through countless abysmal performances on the court this season some hope for the future. New York needed a positive headline at some point this year, and it is finally getting just that.
Jackson won a record 11 NBA championships as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, plus two as a player for New York. While his success came on the bench and not the front office, it’s a fairly safe assumption that he was involved in player personnel decisions in some fashion throughout his career.
All that being said, any move the Knicks make this year will be immediately framed in the context of Anthony’s impending free agency.
The Syracuse product discussed the fact that the addition of Jackson likely won’t impact his decision too much, via Peter Botte of the New York Daily News:
I don’t think it’ll have any effect on me, just as far as what I’m thinking or my decision or anything like that. Like I said, I haven’t talked to Phil yet, just to get his insight on a lot of things, what’s his plan, what’s his future plan, because everything’s in his hands now.
Looking forward, both Houston and Chicago give Anthony a better chance at a championship ring than New York. The Knicks don’t really have any young assets currently on the roster outside of Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr., and they will be on the outside looking in when it comes to the loaded 2014 draft class.
Anthony is currently 29 years old and has logged a lot of minutes in his 11 years in the Association, particularly while carrying the New York offense. His prime simply may not last long enough to be a major part of a rebuild.
They reached the second round of the playoffs last year, and even beat the Miami Heat in Game 1 once they got there.
Right now, they stand at 36-29 and are fighting for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. There is a culture of toughness, winning and physical defense that lends itself to victories even without superstars.
If one of the NBA’s elite scorers in Anthony was to be added to that defense, the Bulls would be immediate title contenders. A threesome of Anthony, Noah and Rose would rank among the best in the league, and that defense isn’t going anywhere if Tom Thibodeau returns.
Yes, it is certainly an assumption to say that Rose will be healthy in 2014-15, but at least he wouldn’t be carrying as much responsibility with Anthony on the roster.
Speaking of “big threes,” a hypothetical matching of Anthony, Dwight Howard and James Harden in Houston should give fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs nightmares.
If a ring is truly the motivating factor for Anthony when free agency hits, he is better off leaving New York and pursuing these more enticing options.
Jackson may be an NBA legend, but he isn’t a miracle worker.
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