Phil Jackson puppet Charley Rosen just embarrassed himself, as did FanRag Sports for running his most recent bout of fake news.
When Phil Jackson began his tenure as president of the New York Knicks, he believed the duties of the man typically in his position were below him. He ignored the media and went on vacation during critical points of the season simply because he could.
The Hall of Fame coach believed he didn’t need to behave like a regular executive because he wasn’t one. Well, that’s true. He wasn’t a normal executive. Neither is Pat Riley, and he doesn’t behave like one either. The difference is that Pat Riley is one of the hardest working guys in the NBA. Jackson is far from it.
The most embarrassing part of Phil’s behavior was the section of fans who thought it was okay for him to act in this manner. One of those fans was a member of the media. His name is Charley Rosen, and by his admission, he’s been a friend and confidant of Jackson’s for nearly 34 years.
The two met when Rosen was an assistant coach to Jackson with the Albany Patroons of the CBA in the 1980s. Rosen and Jackson collaborated on two autobiographies for the coach, 1975’s “Maverick” 2001’s “More Than a Game.”
So yeah, they’re close. So close that you’d think Rosen would avoid writing about Jackson or anything related to what he’s doing. According to his bio for FanRag Sports, Rosen’s previously worked for Penthouse, Men’s Journal, NBA.com, Fox Sports, Sporting News and ESPN, among others. There are some pretty respectable names in there.
That’s why it’s so surprising that Charley Rosen has become nothing more than a puppet for Phil Jackson. He’s a hack, and FanRag Sports is just as bad for publishing his garbage. (Columnists should always possess the freedom to do their own thing, but not when their own thing is living in an alternate universe with little evidence to back it up.)
If you think I’m too harsh, then please let me go into detail about Rosen’s latest three Knicks masterpieces. The first came out the same day (June 20) as an Adrian Wojnarowski report that said Phil Jackson was “weighing the possibility of trading Kristaps Porzingis.”
Rosen’s response to the Woj bomb was a piece titled “The pros and cons of a Kristaps Porzingis trade.”
Rosen lists the reasons under sections headed, “Reasons he shouldn’t be traded” and “Reasons he should be traded.” Phil’s buddy lists 18 different reasons that Porzingis should be traded. Each of them more ridiculous than the next. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights.
Just as Phil Jackson feared right after Porzingis was drafted, players that tall and that lanky are extremely susceptible to injuries. Indeed, he has missed 26 games in his first two seasons, the most potentially serious being an Achilles tendon strain last season.
Writing Jackson’s opinion as facts is a recurring theme for Rosen. You’ll see that as we go along. By the way, Patrick Ewing missed 51 games combined in his first two seasons. Did we worry about him?
Rosen says that KP’s “general attitude is the most troubling.” This is such garbage. Nobody has ever had a bad word to say about Porzingis except this guy.
On Feb. 26, Rosen didn’t feel this way. He said Porzingis “clearly represents the mainstay of the Knicks future” and called his work ethic “extraordinary.”
I wonder what happened between then and now?
Rosen goes on to blame Melo for KP skipping his exit meeting. Who do you think his source was on that?
KP and his brother have often complained about how poorly the Knicks treat their players. This undoubtedly has to do with the negative relationship that exists between Jackson and Carmelo Anthony. For sure, Melo’s in-house dissatisfactions have unduly influenced Porzingis.
Which is unquestionably why KP blew off the exit interview with Jackson and left for home without saying goodbye.
More opinions as facts. Blaming Melo is one of Rosen’s favorite tools. He takes after Jackson that way. The bashing continues with Rosen saying KP’s age is to blame for him not understanding the basics of the NBA world.
In other words, in his youthful naivety, the young man is ignorant of the NBA’s political realities. Trades, forced trades, alienation between management and players, disgruntled players who, for whatever reasons, resist their coach’s game plans — this is all business as usual in the wonderful world of the NBA.
Now we all know Phil loves Derrick Rose. So, guess what?
On June 25, FanRag published an article from Rosen titled “Why Knicks should re-sign Derrick Rose.” Fair enough. It’s not like Rosen’s the only one who feels this way. In the article, Rosen describes Rose as the “on-court mentor young [Frank] Ntilikina would need.”
Interesting take as Rose is just 28-years-old. You typically hear mentor to describe older players. So, why do I bring this up?
On Jan. 12, Rosen called Rose “irresponsible” for going AWOL and stated the former MVP was “maddeningly inconsistent.” Hmmm. On April 13, Rosen called Rose’s season “turbulent” and to “expect [him] to be playing elsewhere” in 2017-18.
You’re probably thinking: What in the world changed this guy’s mind?
During his season-ending news conference on April 14, Jackson said he was impressed by Rose’s expressing a desire to return to New York.
“He enjoyed playing here even with the losses, which of course surprises us because he’s been on some very successful teams,” Jackson said. “But he wants to redeem himself as a player. Which, I like that attitude. I like who Derrick represents as himself. He’s very direct about taking on a big challenge.”
And last, but not least. Charley Rosen’s grand finale. On June 28, he came up with the remarkable work of fiction that will be forever known as “Analyzing Phil Jackson’s tenure with Knicks.”
In it, Rosen absolves his pal of blame and throws all the likely targets under the bus.
Target No. 1: The big bad NY media. They were out to destroy the Zen Master from day one!
One big reason for his dismissal was the furious bias against him on the part of the New York media. This has its roots in 1999, when he was between his stints in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Oh yes, the reason dates all the way back to 1999.
Then-Knicks president Dave Checketts asked for a private meeting with him. The Knicks were then coached by Jeff Van Gundy and were struggling — but eventually reached the NBA Finals in the lockout-shortened season.
So he took a private meeting with another team’s boss, and that’s normal? If Rick Carlisle took a private meeting with Magic Johnson, it’d be the top story on ESPN.
The subject of Jackson taking Van Gundy’s job was never raised. In fact, Checketts only wanted P.J.’s opinion of the Knicks’ roster — which players were keepers and which should be goners?
How would Rosen know what subjects were raised in the meeting? Oh right.
But the New York sportswriters believed Jackson was after Van Gundy’s job and thereafter routinely cast Jackson as a villain.
Target No. 2 was weirdly Tyson Chandler: “no-offense, overrated defense, and chronic malcontent.” Not sure what some of that means, but had to that add there.
By the way, in three seasons with the Knicks Chandler averaged 10.8 points per game on 63.8 percent shooting. That’s no offense Charley?
Target No. 3: Iman Shumpert of all people. Seriously after the NBA Finals leave that dude alone.
“He alienated teammates with his loud, boisterous, and annoying presence in the locker room.” Annoying presence in the locker room? That made me laugh a little bit.
Lou Amundson was described as a “useful” player. Just thought I’d throw that in there. His illustrious Knicks career spanned 70 games over one and a half seasons. He averaged 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds on 41.9 percent shooting. Lou and his man bun took their talents to the Philippines.
No. 4 was Tim Hardaway Jr.: “Selfish, defenseless, and incredibly immature.” THJ just averaged 14.5 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting and 35.7 percent shooting from three-point range and is in line for a big payday this summer.
No. 5 was Melo of course. Rosen trashes Melo yet again by saying “his sticky fingers destroyed any offensive cohesion” and the 10-time All-Star “was always a malcontent.”
He throws Joakim Noah under the bus to absolve Jackson for the $72 million failure.
But he wasn’t in game shape when he reported to training camp. Then he got sick and his conditioning got worse. As a result, he was never sufficiently physically fit to be a plus-player. Then he got hurt. Then he took a drug he shouldn’t have taken.
The most telling line in the piece, though: “All told, signing Noah was an unmitigated disaster — not totally of Jackson’s making.”
But Charley Rosen doesn’t let Phil Jackson’s opinion sway him. His views are all his own. I mean come on, he dedicated an entire column telling people to believe that.
If you’re doing stuff like that, even you’re not buying it.
Even Rosen’s furious bias couldn’t save Jackson’s job, though. Although Rosen and the rest of the “Phil truthers” (credit to Michael Kay for that one) have their crazy conspiracy theories for why it happened, the point is Jackson’s gone.
So, what does Rosen do now?
The real question is: Will we get another edition of the Phil Jackson Chronicles? The NBA world waits with bated breath.
I leave you with one last quote from Charley Rosen.
“By the way, despite its many critics, the triangle can still be a viable and effective NBA offense … but that’s another story.”
And may that story never be written.