After three years of ineptitude, it’s time for James Dolan to fire Phil Jackson and head into a different direction with the New York Knicks.
It’s safe to say this isn’t what James Dolan signed up for when he relinquished $60 million to the individual deemed as one of the best basketball minds on the planet. Though paying someone an unprecedented and exorbitant amount to do a job he’s never done before is an indictment of your own decision making.
But for Phil, this isn’t using extrapolation to rectify a sample-size issue. This isn’t waiting to see how the entire year plays out for a guy like Mark Teixeira, who customarily struggled out the gate before turning it around and putting together a representable campaign.
Jackson is about to complete his third full season at the helm of a Knicks team that has gone a woeful 78-163 on his watch. A watch that probably has the number ’11’ in bold just to remind everyone of his outstanding success as one of the greatest coaches ever. Too bad that hasn’t netted positive results in his new line of work.
The problem for the fanbase lies within their inability to hold him accountable. Instead of gravitating toward spouting the stats of his coaching resume, which in itself makes you an enabler, say what needs to be said: Phil Jackson needs to be fired at the end of the season.
Yes, this means Dolan would be paying him to go away, far away because his tenure has been disastrous. And things aren’t going to drastically improve as long as he’s part of the equation.
Just this past weekend, we learned that Derrick Rose would miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus. Juxtapose this with the reality that when exit interview comments, Joakim Noah will have played in 46 of the 82 games this season.
These were the two biggest acquisitions of the offseason for Jackson. He signed Noah to a 4-year, $72 million deal and dealt his best available trade asset (Robin Lopez) for Rose — two players that had worn out their welcome in Chicago, both having fallen from stardom due to a diarrhea of injuries.
Two former all stars that Jackson thought could help contribute to a newfound winning culture. And the end result? Season-ending injuries, an AWOL catastrophe and a suspension.
Nothing quite says Zen Master like being the orchestrator of a team that’s about to miss the postseason for the fourth straight year. The Knicks, who have gone from “super team” to tank mode, have the sixth-worst record. The “plan” that has been nebulous throughout Jackson’s reign is now to find a way to end up with a high-end pick in what’s expected to be a loaded draft.
And if they land someone with the superstar potential like that of Kristaps Porzingis, then cheers to Phil for doing something right finally. It’s been a while. If not? Then it’ll set the franchise back another year, which obviously isn’t ideal.
Let’s not forget this is the same guy, who signed an aging star in Carmelo Anthony to a max contract and then inexplicably doled out a no-trade clause only to try to run him out of town a couple years later. And that shouldn’t distract anyone from how he managed to get nothing of value for Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, players who thrived under Mike Woodson, the coach he fired two years after he had won 54 games.
This entire situation is a mess, but for Dolan, the mistake of hiring Jackson isn’t an incorrigible one. It’s time to extinguish the misery. It’s time for a new president of basketball operations, one who won’t be victimized by his own ego.
Imagine having an innovative mind with transcendent ideas, who won’t try shoving an antiquated system down everyone’s throats. It would be a breath of fresh air to bring in someone with a relentless attitude conducive to changing the Knicks’ fortunes and not one who is more interested in sending cryptic tweets.
James Dolan is loathed by the New York Knicks faithful and for good reason. But his next move could be one of the best he’s ever made and that would be firing Phil Jackson at the conclusion of the season. Fans might even throw a parade.