Steve Mills Rumors
In an appearance on Mike and Mike’s ESPN Radio show, Jackson was asked about his sentiment GM Steve Mills sat on the lottery dais because he’s the future and will be with the Knicks organization for the long term. Jackson said Monday he expects Mills to be his successor, but he isn’t close to bolting. “I have a five-year contract and I just finished year one,’’ Jackson said. “I anticipate it will take awhile to turn this around and I want to be here through that phase. That was my commitment with Jim Dolan. He was trying to find a brand for our franchise in which people know how we play and identify the style of ball we play. I’ve had part of that history of coaching in the NBA. It allows you to take players to fit into the system that works well and had success. As time goes on, I can allow Steve to take over the whole operation. I don’t anticipate that’s going to be a big deal.’’
No offense to Steve, but why weren’t you the team’s public face on the dais at the draft lottery? Phil Jackson: I see Steve as the future of this franchise. I mean, I’m here for a time, and I’m trying to help turn it around the best way I can. But I can see Steve having a lasting tenure here, and this is one of the things that’s good about our relationship, that we can grow from our teamwork. I couldn’t believe that there was some kind of hue and cry over whether I should have been there to watch what in effect had taken place in a back room, where they had some balls rolling around in a hamster cage.
Now the Knicks, who had a 55.8 percent chance of landing a top-three pick, will consider all of their options with the fourth selection, including the possibility of trading it. “I think we’re going to be open to a lot of things,” said Mills, who could be seen hanging his head after the Knicks’ pick was announced. “We know we can get a good player at this pick. We’re also going to be open to talking to teams and looking at different options.”
The Lakers and 76ers will pick second and third, respectively. Philadelphia has been linked strongly to Russell. Mills wouldn’t comment on Russell, but did offer something on Mudiay, a former Dallas high schooler. “Mudiay is potentially a very good player,” Mills said. “We haven’t worked him out yet. He’s a guy who will be in the mix.’’
Knicks GM Steve Mills already spoke with the 6-foot-5 Mudiay at the lottery, his agent told SNY.tv. “I just know they had a chance to sit and talk, shake hands and exchange pleasantries,” Dwon Clifton said of the brief Mills-Mudiay meeting. Clifton added that he expects Mudiay to go in the 2-4 range.
Mills, who wore Dave DeBusschere’s Hall of Fame ring for good luck, admitted being disappointed that the Knicks ended up where they did. He also didn’t rule out trading the pick for more assets, as President Phil Jackson has discussed already. “We’re going to be open to a lot of things, but we know we can get a good player at this pick but we’re also going to be open to talking to teams and looking at different options,” Mills said.
The tabbing of Mills is a good sign for his stability within the franchise hierarchy. Jackson inherited Mills 14 months ago, and sources have indicated they’ve made a good tandem. Mills was even more outspoken than Jackson at last month’s season-ticket holders event, revealing at least one club had already tried to trade for their top-5 pick.
In his State of Zen Address after the season, president Phil Jackson said he has been averse to sitting on the lottery dais in the past. Coach Derek Fisher was considered another possibility, and former team president Isiah Thomas recently rejoined the Garden ranks as boss of the WNBA’s Liberty.
The Knicks will send their GM Steve Mills to sit on the lottery dais for Tuesday’s extravaganza in Manhattan in an attempt to bring them much-needed luck as the second seed trying to land the No. 1 pick.
Jackson has said he was assured by you that there wouldn’t be any interference. But at what point does the leash get tugged? James Dolan: I don’t see it happening. Phil is a brilliant basketball guy, and he and Steve [Mills] are working together great.
Antetokounmpo’s Greece-based agent, Nick Lotsis, told The Post on Monday he spoke to GM Steve Mills last week. “We have not heard anything today,’’ Lotsis said. “We had a discussion with Steve Mills with the past week. There was no clear indication about whether he’ll be there for the remainder of the season or if they are thinking next season. He said he’s thinking seriously about Thanasis for the team’s future. I don’t think it’s clear how the season finishes.’’
“Everyone here at the Knicks organization appreciates the contribution Amar’e has made to the team and the entire City of New York over the past five seasons. We have developed a relationship that has translated into a long-term friendship, and it will continue through the remainder of his NBA career, and beyond,” Knicks General Manager Steve Mills said.
Marc Berman: Phil Jackson sitting next to GM Steve Mills at Garden watching St. John’s beating up on Duke and Okafor. 55-47 with 12 to go.