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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.

Report: Phil Jackson likely taking Knicks job

Phil JacksonPhil Jackson appears all but certain to be returning to the NBA with the New York Knicks. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported over the weekend that Jackson was leaning toward joining the Knicks in some capacity, and another report from Chris Broussard on Monday indicated that it would be a surprise if the move doesn’t happen.

“The Knicks have a sense of what’s going to happen,” a source reportedly told Broussard. “And as of right now, it looks like Phil’s taking the job. There’s always the possibility of something falling apart at the last minute, but the Knicks’ sense is that he’s joining them.”

The two sides are believed to be in the process of working out details, including what Jackson’s official title will be with the Knicks and when he will start working with the team. Initial speculation led to the belief that New York wanted to hire Jackson as a head coach, but it does not appear that will be the case.

One thing that does seem clear is that Jackson will have a much more significant role with the Knicks than the one he had with the Detroit Pistons last year in helping them select their new head coach. He is expected to be paid a lot of money by owner James Dolan and be an “integral part” of the team’s basketball operations.

There is always a possibility that Jackson is playing mind games and trying to leverage the Knicks against the Los Angeles Lakers, but that seems less likely by the day. It would be a surprise if an announcement about Jackson’s new job with the Knicks didn’t come soon.

Phil Jackson reportedly leaning toward taking Knicks job

Phil JacksonCould the long-anticipated Phil Jackson to the New York Knicks move actually take place?

After Jackson turned down the Knicks’ overture to become their head coach in place of Mike Woodson, the team offered him a front-office position. Now ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says Jackson is “leaning toward” taking the job.

It’s unclear if Jackson would serve as Knicks’ head coach, but that seems unlikely given that Phil has expressed an interest in working in a front office capacity instead.

Though this seems like it really could happen, I think the news was leaked because Phil wants to let the Lakers know that they have to make a move if they want him. Jackson was passed over early last season when the Lakers fired Mike Brown and hired Mike D’Antoni instead. I think this is his way of telling them this is their last shot.

The other thing to consider about Phil taking this job is that it wouldn’t be seen as a blemish on his coaching resume if he fails. Not succeeding as a president of basketball operations is much different from not succeeding as a coach. For that reason, I bet Jackson feels his coaching icon status is safe regardless of what happens with the Knicks.

Phil Jackson reportedly offered front office job with Knicks

Phil JacksonPhil Jackson may not be interested in coaching again, but he is interested in working in a front office role and reportedly is considering an offer from the New York Knicks.

Stephen A. Smith reported on Friday that the Knicks asked Jackson if he was interested in coaching the team, but Jackson turned them down. Later in the day, the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola reported that the Knicks offered Jackson a front office job that he is considering.

Jackson has served as a consultant for many teams including the Lakers and Pistons, but he has not run a team.

Isola is not sure what job the team offered Jackson, but he says it was more than a consultant role.

The Knicks are desperate to keep Carmelo Anthony, who could consider leaving the team after the season. Bringing in Jackson could be a sign that they are serious about improving in the future and could make someone like ‘Melo feel more comfortable about re-signing with the team long term.

If Jackson ever took a role with the Knicks, it would be interesting to see how things unfold. Recall that in an interview with HBO’s “Real Sports” two years ago, he said they had a clumsy roster with Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

Report: Knicks met with Phil Jackson about coaching

Phil-Jackson-KnicksThe New York Knicks will need to make some major changes in order to avoid falling victim to what would be the most significant change of all — losing Carmelo Anthony. Mike Woodson appears to be a dead man walking as New York continues to fall further from playoff contention. Are the Knicks hoping Phil Jackson could rescue their sinking franchise?

According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Knicks general manager Steve Mills met with Jackson two weeks ago to discuss the possibility of the 68-year-old becoming the team’s next head coach. Jackson reportedly turned down the offer.

Smith’s sources added that Jackson was disappointed by the fact that Mills came out to Los Angeles to meet with him instead of Knicks owner James Dolan. Jackson won two NBA championships as a player with New York in the 1970s.

There are a number of ways you can interpret the report. One approach would be to chalk it up as total BS and move along. You could also wonder if Jackson (allegedly) agreeing to take the meeting means he is interested in working with the Knicks in some capacity. Or, skeptics like myself might argue that Knicks are frightened by reports that Anthony is being recruited to the Chicago Bulls and are trying to prove to their biggest star that they are willing to go to drastic measures to improve the team.

Jackson said over the summer that he is done coaching, but it still feels like he has unfinished business with the Lakers. There have also been reports in the past that he is looking to to return to the NBA in some sort of front office capacity, so that could be an outside possibility for both LA and New York. Only the Zen Master really knows.

Phil Jackson: Shaq played ‘clown role,’ which led to rift with Kobe Bryant

Robert-Horry-Phil-Jackson-Started-Shaq-Kobe-FeudThe relationship between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal deteriorated quickly after the Los Angeles Lakers won three-straight championships at the turn of the century. There are a variety of reasons that happened, and it’s always a bonus when we get to hear Phil Jackson’s take on the subject.

While speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston on Friday, Jackson said that Shaq’s work ethic and lack of commitment ultimately led to the downfall between him and Kobe.

“Shaq didn’t work at it,” Jackson said. “It was too easy. He was too big and it was too easy for him. He had his clown role that he had to play. That’s a wonderful role for him.

“I think the wedge between (Shaq and Kobe) was when Shaq opted not to get an operation until right before the season when he could have had it right after the season. That resulted in not allowing us to win four (championships) in a row in Kobe’s mind.”

The surgery Jackson was referring to happened in 2002, when Shaq waited until just before training camp to have surgery on his injured toe. His explanation was that he got hurt on company time so he would rather heal on company time. Jackson said that Kobe was more like Michael Jordan with the way he worked, so he clashed with Shaq.

“Michael Jordan was a tremendous player who overcame a lot of deficiencies in his game,” Jackson said. “He couldn’t play defense. He couldn’t hit an outside shot. All of those things disappeared with his work ethic. Kobe saw that as a pinnacle that he had to reach and went beyond that, actually.”

Some people believe Jackson is the one who started the rift between Shaq and Kobe, though the things the two stars have said publicly make that seem unlikely. Have you seen Shaq’s Buick commercials and his analysis on TNT? We all know he loves to mess around. I’m sure that got old for Kobe, who was chasing MJ’s legacy.

Video via CBS Los Angeles

Phil Jackson tells Kendrick Lamar to get dunk contest started

Phil JacksonNow that Phil Jackson has established a rapport with rapper Kendrick Lamar, he apparently feels comfortable tweeting at the entertainment star whenever he wants.

Jackson sent the following tweet to Lamar while the rapper was performing during Saturday night’s festivities at NBA All-Star Weekend:

The dunk contest — the main attraction for Saturday night’s festivities during All-Star Weekend — was delayed because of Lamar’s performance. Some people were growing impatient and wanted to watch the dunk contest immediately after the 3-point competition, but viewers were forced to wait for Lamar’s set to end. I guess that was Phil’s way of telling Lamar to get a move on it.

In case you forgot, Lamar and Phil have history going back to the summer when Kendrick mentioned Phil in a song and the coach responded.