Phil Jackson may be seen as a savior for the New York Knicks, but even he knows he’ll need a lot of help if he’s to turn around the perpetually moribund franchise.
The latest rumor—as yet unsubstantiated—concerns the possibility Jackson might pursue Cleveland Cavaliers acting general manager David Griffin this offseason.
From a report by ESPN’s Marc Stein:
One of the latest theories in circulation, among rivals coaches and executives, suggests that Jackson will lean on [Steve] Kerr for guidance if Kerr indeed winds up replacing [Mike] Woodson. And that would presumably thrust a longtime Kerr associate, such as Cleveland Cavaliers acting general manager David Griffin, into the mix.
The emphasis on “acting” can’t be understated. Without a permanent title, Griffin would be far easier for the Knicks to poach than an established peer.
Indeed, it would be a tough position to turn down.
The Cavs are one of the few teams where I find myself going, "Well, yeah, maybe GM of the KNicks WOULD be a better gig."— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 7, 2014
We are, of course, talking about at least a degree of separation here, in that this all assumes Jackson does indeed opt to replace Woodson with Kerr, who—it must be noted—has precisely zero head coaching experience.
Here’s a bit about Griffin from his NBA.com bio:
David Griffin joined the Cavaliers as vice president of basketball operations in September 2010. Prior to joining the Cavaliers, Griffin spent 17 seasons with the Suns, the last three as the club’s senior vice president of basketball operations after being named to the position in June 2007.
Note the lengthy experience with the Suns, for whom Kerr served as general manager from 2004 to 2010. In fact, Griffin left the team not long after Kerr, taking himself out of the running for his mentor’s position, per Paul Coro of AZCentral.com.
Judging by comments made following the two’s departure, the belief that Kerr holds Griffin in high regard certainly seems to hold water. From Coro’s story:
Griff is responsible for the great job we've done with personnel in the last few years, in the draft and with trades and pro personnel. He heads the department, works his tail off and has a great feel for talent.
With the Knicks’ season heading for a premature end, expect rumors like this to start sprouting like sunflowers.
Jackson isn't liable to make any major moves until he figures out what's going to happen with Carmelo Anthony, who is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and test free agency.
If Jackson really is concerned with keeping Melo around, it's likely the two will have myriad discussions about the near-future direction of the franchise.