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Report: James Dolan blocking Phil Jackson from certain moves

Phil JacksonPhil Jackson took over the New York Knicks’ basketball operations department just over a month ago, and there could already be trouble in paradise. As expected, Jackson fired head coach Mike Woodson and most of his staff earlier this week. More moves are expected within the organization over the next several months. That is, if team owner James Dolan will allow them.

The NY Daily News reported on Tuesday that Jackson has already “clashed” with Dolan over personnel decisions. Dolan, who admitted last month that he is not a basketball expert, apparently disagrees with Jackson’s desire to remove certain employees and has told him to focus his efforts on building a winning team.

When Jackson signed a five-year, $60 million contract and became the highest-paid executive in the league, the assumption was that he would be given an opportunity to change the culture of the Knicks organization — not just the team’s roster.

As the Daily News noted, long-time assistant coach Herb Williams was one of the coaches fired on Monday. Shortly after, a report surfaced indicating the team would “encourage” its next head coach to bring Williams back. Considering Jackson decided to fire him along with Woodson, that makes little sense. Unless, of course, Dolan is the person responsible for the report.

“There are a lot of good people at the Garden and a lot of good people that travel with the team, but if Phil wants to start fresh why wouldn’t you allow him to do that?” a Knicks employee reportedly told the Daily News.

Earlier this week, ESPN New York’s Ian Begley reported that Jackson has been vocal about his disappointment with some of the Knicks’ players conditioning this past season. That has led to speculation that people within the team’s medical and training staff could lose their jobs, which could be one of the issues Jackson and Dolan are not seeing eye-to-eye with.

Jackson made it very clear that he would not have accepted the Knicks job without full control. We know Dolan has a history of vetoing decisions and not allowing the people he hires to work independently. Jackson is not going to allow himself to become just another Dolan employee.

Phil Jackson reportedly disappointed with Knicks’ conditioning

Phil Jackson KnicksThe New York Knicks fired Mike Woodson on Monday and are prepared to begin rebuilding the team under new team president Phil Jackson. One of Jackson’s priorities may be whipping the Knicks into shape — literally.

According to ESPN New York’s Ian Begley, Jackson has “talked recently about his disappointment in some of the Knicks’ conditioning” this season.

Two of the players Begley mentioned as ones who may have been out of shape are JR Smith and Iman Shumpert, who were both coming off offseason surgeries. Players who had offseason operations generally fall out of shape because they’re unable to exercise, so that’s completely understandable. But what’s the excuse for the rest of the team?

One of the big takeaways is that some people could lose jobs over the issue; Begley says Jackson’s unhappiness over the conditioning could lead to changes with the team’s medical and training staff next season.

Phil’s biggest task will be bringing in better talent on the team, but he might as well begin working on full changes that he believes are necessary.

Lamar Odom reportedly had sit-down meeting with Phil Jackson

Lamar-Odom-Phil-JacksonPhil Jackson is looking to recreate his triangle offense with the New York Knicks by bringing in the right personnel next year. Lamar Odom, who played for Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers for five seasons, is very familiar with that scheme. Is that why Jackson and Odom reportedly had a sit-down meeting last week?

According to the NY Post, Jackson met with Odom during halftime of last Wednesday’s Knicks-Nets game. There has already been speculation that Metta World Peace could return to New York next season now that Jackson is in charge. Both he and Odom are familiar with Jackson’s offense and could provide veteran leadership.

Odom will turn 35 next season. He was unable to find work in the NBA last season after an absolute mess of an offseason and had his stint in Spain cut short by injury. It’s tough to imagine Odom making any type of serious contribution on the court next season.

It’s also possible that Odom and Jackson were meeting as friends. Back when Jackson retired, various reports indicated that the downfall of Odom’s career was a result of Jackson stepping down. Odom has reportedly looked up to Jackson as a father figure, so it would not be a surprise if Jackson was simply meeting with him for more personal reasons. I’m sure the Zen Master has better advice than Bruce Jenner.

Phil Jackson left Knicks’ loss to Lakers early to walk his dog

Phil JacksonAfter stringing together a nice little eight-game win streak earlier this month, the New York Knicks have now lost back-to-back games. They are three games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference with just 11 games remaining, which means one losing streak could end New York’s season. Even Phil Jackson couldn’t bring himself to watch his new team’s latest loss.

The Los Angeles Lakers destroyed the Knicks by a score of 127-96 on Tuesday night. New York gave up 51 points in the third quarter, which was a franchise record and the most the Lakers have ever scored in one quarter in their team’s history. Jackson left the game with about nine minutes remaining and Billy Witz of the New York Times caught up with him.

“It was awful, huh?” Jackson said as he left his luxury suite.

Jackson told Witz that he texted his fiancee Jeanne Buss to meet him outside the Staples Center. When he eventually made his way to his car with Buss in the passenger seat, the Zen Master was asked what he had planned for the rest of the evening.

“I think I’ll walk to dog,” he replied.

Make no mistake about it — Jackson was disgusted. He can come up with all the quirky responses he wants, but getting blown out by the Lakers like that stings a little worse than it would against any other team. So did watching his team give up 51 points in 12 minutes.

“51 points,” Jackson said. “When it’s 35 points you start to get worried. When it’s a 51-point quarter, that’s really awful.”

The Knicks are within striking distance of the playoffs, but that doesn’t seem to have created a great sense of optimism surrounding the team.

“We’re in a talent hunt,” Jackson added. “We have to bring in talent.”

Expect some big changes in New York this offseason with Phil running the show.

Jeanie Buss on not hiring Phil Jackson: Lakers don’t need another voice

Jeanie Buss Phil Jackson selfie

Everyone knows the New York Knicks were Phil Jackson’s second choice. Had Jackson been offered the exact same position with the Los Angeles Lakers as the one he accepted with the Knicks, he would have chosen LA. Why wasn’t that offer extended? Lakers president Jeanie Buss, who referred to herself as “the boss,” shed some light on that on Thursday.

Buss has been in charge of the Lakers since her father Dr. Jerry Buss passed away. In a lengthy chat with ESPNLA 710 radio’s “Mason and Ireland” show, she explained her responsibilities with the team.

“In my position, I empower people that are in positions to do their jobs,” Buss said. “[Executive vice president of player personnel] Jim Buss and [general manager] Mitch Kupchak are responsible for all basketball decisions. They are empowered to do that. My job is to make sure, as a boss, that I provide them the tools to do the job successfully. But it’s up to them to make the day-to-day decisions on how they operate their area of the business.”

That’s where the Jackson situation comes into play. Buss, who is Jackson’s fiancee, admitted that she would love to share an office with Phil so they could carpool to work together. The decision to not hire Jackson ultimately came down to her siblings and employees not envisioning a significant role for him.

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Did Pete Carroll leak news of Phil Jackson taking Knicks job?

Phil JacksonThere have been plenty of rumors and reports indicating that Phil Jackson will take a front office job with the New York Knicks by the end of the week, but nothing has been as concrete as this congratulatory tweet from Pete Carroll.

Does Petey know something the rest of us don’t know? Is he just reacting to media reports or has he spoken with the Zen Master?

It’s not like it would be a surprise at this point if Phil ends up with the Knicks. We told you earlier on Tuesday that the Knicks believe a deal is pretty much done and that they expect him to take over their basketball operations department, but nothing has made it seem finalized the way this Carroll tweet did.

Pete, always messing with us!

Phil Jackson expected to take over Knicks’ basketball operations department

Phil-Jackson-KnicksDespite several conflicting reports popping up over the past 24 hours, all signs still seem to point toward Phil Jackson being hired by the New York Knicks. The two sides are expected to finalize a deal by the end of the week, with the biggest mystery being exactly how much control Jackson is going to have.

According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Jackson will be taking over the Knicks’ basketball operations department from president and general manager Steve Mills. Mills is expected to remain with the organization.

“Everything is pretty much done,” a source reportedly told Broussard. “There are just some little things here and there that need to be worked out, but the Knicks are very confident that this is essentially done.”

From the sound of it, Jackson is going to have close to total control over all of the Knicks’ roster decisions. He will likely be given the responsibility of choosing the team’s next head coach as well, assuming Mike Woodson is fired at the end of the season. Given his resume and legendary status as one of the best coaches in NBA history, it would be a surprise if Jackson accepted anything less.

While there has been some speculation that Jackson could be using discussions with the Knicks to put pressure on the Los Angeles Lakers, that seems unlikely. The 68-year-old won multiple championships in New York as a player, so it’s not like he has no history with the team. This is the type of role Jackson has expressed an interest in returning to the NBA with in the past.