Phil Jackson, Knicks Part Ways After 3 Seasons

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 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

The New York Knicks made a significant course correction Wednesday, parting ways with team president Phil Jackson.

Knicks owner James Dolan commented on Jackson's departure in a team release:

"After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction. Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive.

"While we are currently evaluating how best to move forward regarding the leadership of the organization, I will not be involved in the operation of the team. Steve Mills, the team's general manager, will run the day-to-day business of the organization over the short term. Tim Leiweke, who brings tremendous expertise and experience in sports franchise management from both Toronto and Los Angeles and is our partner in the Oak View Group, will advise and work with Steve on an interim basis to help develop a go-forward plan."

Jackson also commented on his tenure in the announcement regarding his exit:

“The New York Knicks will always hold a special place in my heart. This team and this town launched my NBA career. I will forever be indebted to them. I am grateful to Mr. Dolan for giving me the opportunity to return here.

"I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren't able to do that. New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best—today and always."

Jackson, 71, spent three wildly disappointing years at the post. Hired out of retirement to run an NBA organization for the first time in his life, his tenure was almost a complete failure.

The Knicks went 80-166 during Jackson's three full seasons with four different coaches (including Kurt Rambis) and five times as many internal organizational philosophies. Jackson's beloved triangle offense hung above the franchise like a guillotine, ready to chop off any progress or forward momentum.

Jackson signed Carmelo Anthony to an extension and gave him a no-trade clause, inked Joakim Noah to an instantly regrettable contract and made an ill-fated attempt to revive Derrick Rose's career.

Jackson criticized Anthony in the press on a periodic basis and all but showed him the door after last season. Noah is one of the league's worst contracts less than a year after being signed, and Rose continued to look every bit like a once-great player who can't put things back together.

The one great decision Jackson made during his tenure, drafting Kristaps Porzingis, has become a mess of his own doing. Porzingis skipped out on exit meetings due to displeasure over how the organization has been run, which led to Jackson's becoming upset behind the scenes and even entertaining trade talks about a 21-year-old blossoming star.

If you're looking for a reason the Knicks are moving on, Jackson's tiff with Porzingis is the place to start. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported Dolan grew increasingly concerned about Jackson's fitness to run the franchise in recent days.

Porzingis is a franchise cornerstone who the team should never have considered moving, and it's the right call for Dolan to get ahead of this now.

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