In part 7 of the “Phil Jackson Chronicles” the legendary coach revealed his biggest regret since taking the job as New York Knicks president.
Two years after being hired by the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson appears comfortable in his role as President of Basketball Operations. That wasn’t always the case.
Speaking again to confidant and friend Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak, Jackson expanded on the Crowder situation. He would’ve come to New York in the Tyson Chandler/Raymond Felton to Dallas trade.
“I think the biggest mistake I made was actually this…One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics. In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo, so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.”
Ok, so trading an All-Star center in what amounted to a salary dump was awful. At least Jackson admitted it. It was to a close friend in a piece that’s dedicated to making him look good, but that’s how the NBA works.
It’s hard to blame Phil for missing on Crowder anyway. Especially when you consider even the Mavericks didn’t see much in him. The 6’6” swingman rode the bench for nearly three seasons under legendary head coach Rick Carlisle.
Jackson thinking Crowder would stay buried on the bench in New York behind Carmelo Anthony was a valid concern.
Anthony was coming off a season in which he led the NBA in minutes per game. Of all the areas of need the Knicks had when Jackson took over, small forward depth wasn’t one.
He had a borderline All-Star season by stuff the stat sheet on a regular basis, averaging 14.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.7 steals.
It’s easy to play MMQB, but when you see that the pick turned into Cleanthony Early, it makes Jackson’s gaffe hurt that much more.