Breaking: Phil Jackson and Knicks to Part Ways
Once again, the New York Knickerbockers drop another bombshell on the league.
According to reports, Knicks' owner James Dolan has decided to buyout the $24 million remaining on Jackson's contract, relinquishing him of his duties as team president. This decision comes just days before the start of the free agency period.
This is amid the feud between Jackson and the Knicks' star players, Carmelo Anthony and Kristapas Porzingis. Jackson clashed with Anthony for much of the 2016-17 season, attacking the 33-year old All-Star in the media on numerous occasions.
Jackson did his best to ostracized Anthony from the Knicks franchise. He tried to convince the world, and Anthony, that the two parties were better off going in different directions, but Anthony would not budge on his no-trade clause which left the control out of Jackson's hand. Some believe that was the reason for Jackson's approach towards handling Anthony. The two had a number of meetings during the season but the tension never settled, Jackson still wanted Anthony out.
Jackson's attempt to trade Porzingis was the final straw for Dolan and Knicks fans. Porzingis skipped the exit meeting with Jackson back in April, which ruined the relationship between the two. According to Porzingis's camp, he was frustrated with how the team was being handled and the circus that was going on around the team. On draft day, Phil spoke on Porzingis and made it clear that he was on the trading block and would take offers for the 21-year old forward. This signaled the end of what was supposed to be a great relationship between Jackson and his star draft pick.
Jackson's final decision as Knicks' president was drafting Frank Ntilikina after not finding a decent offer for Porzingis or Anthony. Jackson will leave the Knicks with an 80-166 record and failed attempt to implement the triangle offense. Current General Manager, Steve Mills, will take over interim duties throughout free agency but Jackson left the Knicks with little cap space because of bad contracts with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
For Knicks' fans, this ends a tumultuous era that brought nothing but drama. This could be the end of the nightmare though. Dolan, who is hated for more reasons than one, made a decision that was best for the franchise just six days after admitting that he let Jackson deal with the team on draft day while he performs with his band. In February, Dolan said he wouldn't fire Jackson no matter how bad the team is doing. Making a decision like this won't bring instant success but it's the direct change of direction New York basketball fans needed to see.