Jerry Krause: Phil Jackson took Knicks job ‘for the money’
Former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause says there is only one reason Phil Jackson took the Knicks job. Check that: He believes there are $60 million reasons Phil took the job.
Krause, who was GM of the Bulls during Phil’s successful tenure as the team’s coach in the ’90s (and has a testy relationship with Jackson), told ESPN New York that he is not at all surprised by the Knicks’ struggles this season.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Krause told ESPN New York Wednesday. “I knew Phil had a bad ballclub. If [James] Dolan offered him $2 million a year or even $5 million, he wouldn’t have taken it. But $12 million is overwhelming. Phil didn’t take the job because he thought he had a playoff club. He took the job for the money.”
He’s probably right. Jackson flirted with the idea of returning to New York, though he was adamant that he was done coaching. The Knicks brought him in for the next best thing — to try shaping the franchise and roster. And they really had to up the ante to convince the longtime coach to come out of retirement to take on this messy project.
The Knicks were not expected to do well this season (at least not by us), but we did not figure they would have the worst record in the league by the All-Star break. Their 10-43 is even worse than that of the Sixers, which was a team built to tank. If Jackson took the job for the money, then the cost is a hit to his reputation as a basketball genius. You can tell he does not enjoy the criticism coming his way, because he has been touchy and responded to it at many different points over the past several months.