Phil Jackson Allegedly Fell Asleep During Workout with 2017 NBA Draft Prospect

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2017

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson answers questions during a news conference at the team's training facility, Friday, April 14, 2017, in Greenburgh, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

A top-15 prospect told ESPN analyst Jay Williams that New York Knicks president Phil Jackson "was falling in and out of sleep" during his workout (h/t Bob Ley of ESPN):

Bob Ley @BobLeyESPN

"@PhilJackson11 was falling in and out of sleep during my workout." - @RealJayWilliams on a recent recruit he spoke with. https://t.co/Qmh4j0X9Pu

Jackson and the Knicks have been in the news ahead of the draft, with the team reportedly entertaining offers for young star Kristaps Porzingis.

"We're getting calls," Jackson said during an interview on the MSG Network, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com. "As much as we value Kristaps and what he's done for us, when a guy doesn't show up for an exit meeting, everybody starts speculating on the duration or movability from a club. So we've been getting calls and we're listening, but we're not intrigued yet at this level. But as much as we love this guy, we have to do what's good for our club."

Williams' report on Jackson falling asleep during a workout, along with the inexplicable decision to shop a young superstar like Porzingis after just two seasons—potentially because he skipped an exit interview—are the latest head-scratching developments in Jackson's controversial tenure as the Knicks president. 

Most famously, Jackson publicly underwent a campaign to convince Carmelo Anthony to waive his no-trade clause during the 2016-17 season so the Knicks can move on from the veteran forward. The NBA Players Association even complained to the NBA about Jackson's public posturing.

Nonetheless, Jackson doubled down on his campaign to move on from Anthony on Wednesday, per Begley:

"We've expressed the fact that we've done a lot of things to try to put teams together that can win, and we haven't been successful, and it might be time for [Anthony] to find an opportunity to go somewhere else. [Anthony has] come back and said he'd just as soon stay. We're trying to start growing from the youth aspect of it. There will be conversations after the draft and after free agency when teams start reorganizing their rosters."

Suffice it to say, reports like Jackson falling asleep at a workout or his public campaign to trade Anthony haven't sat well with players and agents around the league, per Zach Lowe of ESPN.com: 

Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA

To restate the obvious, players and agents increasingly look at the Knicks as a destination of absolute last resort.

And given that any trade involving Porzingis surely would involve draft picks—Begley reported the Knicks have had conversations with every team in the top five of this year's draft—it's hard to imagine any incoming prospects are thrilled at the possibility of joining the current circus in New York, either.


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