It’s that time of the year again. I’m talking about the last quarter of the NBA season when the struggling New York Knicks are rumored to be talking Phil Jackson back into coaching. This isn’t the first time the Knicks have made an attempt at luring Jackson back on the sidelines to coach their losing team. James Dolan must think that no matter how many bad contracts he signs and no matter how incapable his players are of winning, Jackson can turn it all around in an instant. Just stick the Zen Master on the sidelines and like magic, he’ll turn a band of misfits into a championship team. Unfortunately for Dolan, that’s not how it works.
Jackson turned down the head coaching job, and it was a very smart decision on his part. But now, as reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Jackson is reportedly thinking over another offer by the New York Knicks. Apparently the position is more than just a consultant for the team. Steve Mills isn’t getting fired, but Jackson is possibly considering the idea of joining the Knicks as President of Basketball Operations. Dolan would have to give Jackson full control in scouting players and making decisions on talent, something I have a hard time believing he’d do.
The New York Knicks are on a run … well, sort of. Two wins in a row qualifies as a winning streak, but that’s not saying much for a team that is 5-13 in the last 18 games. This Knicks season has been well-criticized by many people, including myself. There’s not much they can do to help themselves at this point except to actually give an effort. They’ve had as much trouble staying in games mentally as they have physically. Can Phil Jackson step into New York’s basketball operations and create a championship team in the next couple of years?
I don’t believe so. If the Knicks could talk Jackson into coaching, then maybe he could make a difference. But this team is so damaged right now that there’s no one who can change things until at least the end of next season. Horrible contracts given to the wrong players as well as draft picks which have been traded have set the Knicks back greatly. Maybe Jackson can make some good decisions going forward with Mills, but only if Dolan keeps his nose out of these decisions. And even then, there’s only so much Jackson can do in player evaluation. I think that if he does take this job, he’ll end up coaching the team eventually after realizing the limits of simply scouting the players.