More than 2,500 miles separated them for 2 ½ years. Still, rumors persisted that he would eventually return to the Lakers, the team he had coached to five NBA championships. “You know the league has never been very amenable, happy about our relationship,” Jackson said. “There’s this … feeling that there could be collusion between those two franchises. So that was something that was difficult for us. It’s not that reason [why the relationship ended] — I think distance is the biggest reason.”
June 28, 2017 | 9:23 pm EDT Update
Ramona Shelburne: There was still strong internal debate on whether the team should pay $45 million in the final year of a deal to a 37-year-old player. Big Detail: The Clippers had not yet committed to give Chris Paul the full five-year max contract of $201 million.
The New York Knicks’ focus over the next few weeks will be on free agency, and not on a replacement for departed team president Phil Jackson, league sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. General manager Steve Mills was leading the front office in talks with other teams on Wednesday, sources said.
Any discussion with Ujiri — who is facing a potential rebuild of his own should the Raptors lose free agents Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, PJ Tucker and Patrick Patterson — would first require permission and then steep compensation (such as draft picks), which league sources said was unlikely for the Knicks, given their current roster construction.