Knicks: Phil Jackson as President of Basketball Operations? Yes, Please


Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This all started when we learned New York Knicks president and general manager Steve Mills offered Hall of Famer Phil Jackson the next head coaching job of the Knicks. Jackson wasn’t interested. Nobody was surprised by that since Jackson has turned down such offers in the past and has stated several times that he doesn’t want to return to the bench. He has also stated publicly that he has a desire to run a team.

This is where owner James Dolan has come in and swung for the fences. Dolan curtailed the coaching talks towards Jackson coming to New York with complete autonomy concerning basketball decisions. According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, a source has revealed that Jackson is close to accepting the position of president of basketball operations with the Knicks.

While nothing is set in stone, this is the best news any Knick fan has heard in a while. This wasn’t thought of as a serious possibility at first but has since picked up traction and if happens would create an incredible buzz throughout the NBA. We’ll just have to hope we get the chance to see just what happens.

New York is certainly a team in dire need of restoration and will be looking to Jackson to basically save the franchise. Since Knick fans don’t have much to be happy about these days, let’s consider what landing Jackson in the front office would mean.

The Knicks’ meddling owner recently caused the demise of two competent GMs and basketball men in Donnie Walsh and Glen Grunwald for reasons we still don’t know, since he doesn’t think he owes an explanation for anything. Perhaps the best thing about this is Dolan being more of an absentee owner, letting the basketball savant do what he’s hired for. The level of basketball incompetence in the Knicks’ front office currently couldn’t be any higher and Phil Jackson running basketball operations is exactly what this organization needs.

One of the reasons why this works is Jackson’s want to operate out of a position of this nature. Another is the affinity that he has for the organization he won two championships with as a player. This would be a way of bringing the thirteen-time (eleven as a coach) champion’s legendary basketball journey full circle; building a winner in the place he first won as a pro. The nostalgia factor would definitely have played a part if Jackson ends up accepting the position.

It’s quite literally the biggest upgrade imaginable. Knick fans must be giddy just thinking about Jackson even considering the job. The man is a winner in every facet of the word and this rumor must be sparking hopes that this could bring the organization to a place the orange and blue faithful haven’t been the last four decades.

In a way, this is better than him becoming the coach. At this point of his career Jackson doesn’t want the day-to-day grind of coaching; he’s said so himself. Remember when the Lakers had an opening after firing Mike Brown in 2012 and Jackson reportedly wanted to miss select road trips? This is really the best fit for everyone.

Now, Phil can pick the next head coach of the Knicks himself—and perhaps some of those lofty names could arise as real candidates knowing the basketball end of things is now legitimate in New York.

It could also have an effect on Carmelo Anthony’s decision on whether to stay or not. It’s a no-brainer that the Knicks’ chances of keeping Anthony get a heavy boost. In addition, the overall outlook of the organization as a laughing-stock takes a dramatic turn.

Due to Dolan’s penchant for striking out, it’s surprising to think that he may have hit a home run for the Knicks—it’s a situation in which we’ll be happy unlimited funds are available to him. Surprisingly enough he’ll be using them wisely for a change. With a guy like Jackson there will be a plan for moving forward (the [Zen] Master plan); something we haven’t seen from the Knicks front office at all.

New York has floundered all season in an incredibly weak Eastern conference and is past the point of disaster. This development gives a reason for hope in Madison Square Garden. Phil Jackson could be the man to pull the sinking ship that is the New York Knicks out of the water.