This morning, a report came out which stated that Phil Jackson had agreed in principle to oversee basketball operations for the New York Knicks. Details of the job’s extensiveness haven’t come out, but it’s assumed that Jackson would have total control of all basketball decisions. Jackson has been in deep meditation, deciding if he should take the job or not. Reports over the weekend stated that Jackson was leaning towards taking the job but nothing was confirmed. Just hours after the New York Post reported that New York and Jackson agreed in principle on a deal, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News is reporting that Jackson keeps changing his mind about the deal.
Phil is willing to take the job, but apparently the negotiations are getting stuck when it comes to the money and living arrangements. Maybe Phil wants the Knicks to pay for him to live in New York on top of the handsome salary he’ll be awarded. The salary is rumored to be over $15 million to act as some kind of president for the team. James Dolan sure likes spending money, and he doesn’t seem to wince at all when he does. But what else does Phil want? Is he using all of this as leverage for another job?
Ironically, Phil is engaged to longtime girlfriend Jeanie Buss. Jeanie is president of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team which she co-owns with her brother Jim Buss after the passing of their father Jerry Buss. Could Phil be playing the Knicks? Could he be trying to get as much as he can from them, and if he then decides it’s not enough he’ll just bolt from the job? It would be a very peculiar situation if he ran a team in New York while his fiance runs a team in Los Angeles. How would it work for their relationship? Phil is obviously taking all of this into account and if he really wanted to return to the NBA bad enough, I’m sure Jeanie would give him a job.
I don’t think Jackson would go through all of this with the Knicks just to make another team jealous. Jackson is an unofficial consultant for the Detroit Pistons. If he really wanted to turn that team around, all he’d have to do is ask. Jackson is smart, and there’s no way he’s hiding ulterior motives with this whole ordeal. He is simply trying to get as much as he can since he will have to move to New York at 68 years old. He’s been comfortable living in both Montana and Los Angeles. This is a big step for him at this stage in his career. He will only take the job if everything is exactly how he wants it. For a man with his resume and of his age, that’s how it should be.