HoopsHype Phil Jackson rumors

April 20, 2014 Updates

Last week, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson told his players to expect personnel changes this summer. Apparently, Jackson also expects the returning players to be in better shape next season. According to an NBA source, Jackson has talked recently about his disappointment in some of the Knicks’ conditioning -- or lack thereof -- this year. New York got off to a slow start this season and never really recovered. Some analysts pointed out that players didn’t come to training camp in proper shape, which led to the early-season struggles. ESPN.com

It’s unclear which players Jackson was talking about when he mentioned a lack of conditioning. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were coming off of offseason surgery and Mike Woodson mentioned that Shumpert was dealing with minor injuries throughout camp, which may have hindered him early on. Jackson’s unhappiness over conditioning may lead to changes among the team’s medical and training staff next season. ESPN.com

The stars are starting to align for an eventual reunion of Phil Jackson and Jim Cleamons in New York. Cleamons, the former Knicks starting point guard, and Jackson were teammates in New York in the late 1970’s. From there, Cleamons became Jackson’s right-hand man on the bench for nine of the Zen Master’s 11 coaching titles — four with the Bulls and all five with the Lakers. Cleamons, now a Bucks assistant coach, would seem a perfect fit as top assistant — a veteran and master of the triangle who could help potential new head coach Steve Kerr. Kerr has emerged as Jackson’s leading head-coaching candidate. According to an NBA source, Cleamons is interested in rejoining Jackson’s Knicks in any capacity. Already, former Bulls personnel man, Clarence Gaines Jr. is on board with the Knicks in an unnamed front-office job and was in Portsmouth, Va. with team brass this week for the second day of an important pre-draft camp. New York Post

The NBA source said Cleamons also would have interest in anything Jackson has to offer, including a personnel gig. The NBA source also said Cleamons is a big fan of his former player, Kerr, and his ability to be a head coach because of his “quick learning curve.’’ There probably isn’t another assistant coach as well-versed in the triangle offense as Cleamons. New York Post

April 19, 2014 Updates

On Wednesday, the coach said he'd like a resolution on whether he will return next season as soon as possible. "I think it's been enough said about my job all year with you guys," he said. "Hopefully, soon I'll know my destination in terms of where I'm going to be." Earlier Friday on "SportsCenter," ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said Woodson would prefer that Jackson reach out to his agent if he's going to fire him rather than having a face-to-face meeting to inform him that he's being let go. ESPN.com

Dolan, who told staffers on the eve of the season that he felt the Knicks could contend for an NBA title, told the players on Wednesday that he was “disappointed by the season, that he had higher expectations,” the player said. “He said we left the fans wanting more,” the player said. The player said Dolan added the Knicks "have to start thinking about a championship and he told us that it starts [Thursday]. It was a great speech." Woodson was in the room for the speech, according to the player. But his future with the Knicks is unclear. ESPN.com

April 18, 2014 Updates

Pau Gasol felt nostalgic in what he admitted might have been his last day with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. He's also excited about his impending free agency and is open to a reunion with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who now runs the New York Knicks' front office. "I'm happy for him and the position that he got," Gasol said. "I'm always going to be a big fan and a friend. I would listen." Yahoo! Sports

Phil Jackson’s first real imprint on the Knicks organization will come when he names a new head coach or stuns the basketball world by retaining Mike Woodson. Among those waiting on the news is Steve Kerr, the former player and general manager turned broadcaster for TNT. According to a source close to the situation, Kerr “absolutely expects” to be offered the job. “And if he’s offered the job he’s definitely going to do it,” the source told The Post. New York Post

Phil Jackson didn’t have time for Mike Woodson during the season, and now it appears that the head coach doesn’t have time for the Knicks’ new president. The standoff between the coaching legend and the coach in limbo is apparently underway with Woodson, according to a Knicks source, informing the organization that if Jackson plans on firing him there is no reason to meet formally. New York Daily News

According to another team source, Jackson and Woodson will talk over the phone on Friday and will either plan on meeting face-to-face next week or work out of the terms of Woodson’s dismissal. Either way, Woodson almost assuredly coached his last game with the Knicks on Wednesday and will represent the first of many significant changes in the Jackson era. New York Daily News

It is obvious that Woodson didn’t appreciate being shut out by Jackson once the Zen Master joined the franchise last month as the Knicks’ newest savior. Former Knicks coach Larry Brown, Woodson’s mentor, raised that precise issue last week on SiriusXM NBA Radio when he said that Jackson is “not talking to” Woodson. “I’m sick about what’s happening with Michael,” Brown added. “He’s out on the limb and that’s not fair. For a guy that really turned that franchise around and made people proud of the way they played I don’t think he’s been treated fairly and that really bothers me.” New York Daily News

April 17, 2014 Updates

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