The New York Knicks are in dire need of revamping, but is Phil Jackson the answer to their problems? Sources with knowledge of the conversations say the former player and retired coach with 11 NBA titles is leaning towards taking the Knicks up on their offer for a front office position. But with nothing etched in stone, fans, commentators and players alike are debating whether the Zen Master can turn around the ailing franchise.
"I will be the first to admit that I would rather have a Tom Thibodeau or a Mark Jackson as the head coach of the New York Knicks than to have Phil Jackson as an executive," said avid Knicks fan and ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith.
Jackson’s championship pedigree as a head coach has yet to convince Smith and many other sports critics that he has what it takes as an executive to repair this beleaguered organization. While he spent 20 seasons coaching in the NBA and has made 13 trips to the Finals as the coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers dynasties, Jackson has no experience as an executive. According to Smith, Jackson’s lack of know-how as an exec "brings into question if he is the right man for the job."
Nevertheless, if he does take the position Jackson will have his work cut out for him. The Knicks are mired in a disappointing 22-40 season, after being the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season. Additionally, Carmelo Anthony, the team's best player, is likely headed for free agency this summer.
The onus on Jackson to bring back Anthony and surround him with a championship caliber supporting cast will be immense. Jackson’s role on the Knicks will be far more inclusive than that of his most recent consulting position for the Detroit Pistons. The Hall of Fame coach would be a major player in regards to the club’s operations; controlling the head of basketball operations, according to ESPN sources.
Coming to New York will be a return home for Jackson. He played with the Knicks for 10 seasons and won championships with New York in 1970 and 1973, the only NBA titles in franchise history.
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