Of course, there is another possibility the Busses discuss regularly, a guy who is practically family—Phil Jackson. He can opt out of his Knicks contract in a year, and he’s believed to be able to get out of it the year after that, too. Despite Jackson’s limited results in New York, he has served an obvious purpose for James Dolan, taking the heat off the owner by accepting it himself. That is something the Buss family has noticed as a worthwhile formula as they continue to take their hits, besides how useful Jackson might be recruiting free agents even if he doesn’t do day-to-day work.
The thing is, Jackson is legitimately committed to getting the Knicks on the upswing. As attractive as the prospects of molding Walton and helping Jeanie are—and how much more weight he has representing the Lakers teams he won with— the Lakers want Jackson more than he wants them.
Bryant would have tremendous appeal as a high-ranking official, but he is focused on his own business pursuits. Magic Johnson has made clear his disdain for Jim and is extremely interested in having a meaningful role with the Lakers.
Jeanie Buss: People think that Phil is going to come back here to L.A. and it’s not true. He’s signed a five-year agreement. He is happy where he is. What I am getting from people in New York is that he’s just doing it for the money. Phil doesn’t do anything for the money. He’s completely devoted to this job.
Jackson added that he still views Kurt Rambis — who went 9-19 down the stretch last season as coach — as an integral part of the staff going forward and an asset for Hornacek. “Well, Kurt fits,’’ Jackson told SNY. “He fits in a number of ways. He’s a teammate of Jeff’s in Phoenix at one point in their careers. He’s also a great team guy, he has a great idea what we’re trying to get accomplished, and I think he can help Jeff feel his way through this club and find the best way for them to play.’’
Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss says that Phil Jackson, her fiancé and the president of the Knicks, will not be leaving New York to rejoin the Lakers. "No. To visit, yes ... but in terms of basketball, he's committed to New York for many years," Buss said Monday on ESPN Radio's Beadle and Shelburne Show. "He's building something there. He has a mission, he's on that journey to get the team back to where he believes it can be and it will be. He's a former Knick ... he loves New York, he loves the fans, he wants to make them proud."
Jackson has three seasons remaining on his five-year deal with the Knicks. Speculation about Jackson's potential return to Los Angeles will likely continue because his contract contains an opt-out clause after the 2016-17 season, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.
Ramona Shelburne: Is Phil Jackson ever coming back to LA? His fiancé Jeanie Buss says "There are no plans for Phil to come back here." http://es.pn/1NZnMbJ
Nets Daily: I heard last year that Phil Jackson got a $5,000 a month travel allowance, separate from his contract. Sounds like he's make good use of it.
Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson discussed the Knicks' coaching search during their exit meetings last month and haven't spoken about it since. The lack of communication is a bit odd because Anthony has said he wants to share his opinion with the front office during the search. "I'm pretty sure people would assume that [I'd be in contact with Jackson]. I would assume that too. But what can I do? Bang down the door? Knock down the door and point a finger at Phil and say why hell you ain't ... ," Anthony told ESPN on Thursday during a promotional appearance in Manhattan.
Anthony said Thursday that he doesn't know what Jackson will do. "I don't know kind of what they're thinking about going through the process," he said. "I don't know if he already made his decision. I don't know. Nobody knows what he's thinking. That's the hard part."
Ian Begley: Here's Carmelo Anthony on why he still believes in Phil Jackson: "I don't really know what's happening as far as the coaching decisions and the players. At this point, I still have to believe in what Phil is doing. I can't say that I don't believe in him no more, this is over with. I still have to believe in him. I'm here, I still want to be here. I still want to be successful so I don't have no other choice but to believe in what's his plan."
Sirius XM NBA: #Knicks Carmelo Anthony tells @Frank Isola that he "has to believe" in Phil Jackson --> bit.ly/26xTy5C
A source told The Post Blatt would be a long shot — unless Jackson decides to start passing the torch to GM Steve Mills, who played in the same backcourt at Princeton as the former Cavs coach. Blatt, an Israeli coaching legend, was an usher at Mills’ wedding, and The Post reported last June Mills has brought his name up to owner James Dolan in the past. It would be a neat compromise, if Jackson is to leave after next season as his contract allows.
Whether Kurt Rambis is Knicks head coach for the last time Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse hasn’t been determined. What has been determined is Rambis will return in some capacity next season — whether as offensive coordinator or assistant general manager, according to sources.
There were rumblings around the Garden late Sunday that Jackson may be gone this summer. Next summer at the latest. If Phil so chooses he can stay the course, hire Rambis full-time and hope that free agents will flock to New York to play in a system that Rambis himself says takes new players a year to learn. Is that really a strong selling point?
A little nosing around NBA circles adds some important elements of subtext. One is that Jackson badly wants out of New York, preferring to return back to Los Angeles to be near his fiancée, Lakers scion Jeanie Buss. Jackson is believed to have an out in his Knicks deal that could free him up to do just that at the end of next season unless things between him and Dolan become untenable before that. It’s believed that as soon as Jeanie’s brother Jim Buss — blamed for the Lakers current free fall — is somehow removed from the scene, Jackson will be back as soon as he can engineer it.
As for the Knicks’ interest in Ujiri? It’s preliminary, tested by back channel intermediaries that take the temperature of a candidate before the executive search firms are brought in and the formal permissions are requested. But those channels are always close at hand in the NBA, even if the process can play out over years.
Appearing as an analyst on NBA TV, Fisher said: “I think a lot of people forget about Phil because of history within the game of basketball — one of the greatest basketball minds, coaches we’ve ever seen — there’s an assumption that he’s supposed to know what to do in every situation. He’s also still learning as an executive, as a president of an organization, which is completely different than coaching. My assumption, without assuming, is there was a lot of learning he had to do and we all had to do while working together. … I think Phil is still settling in, but organization-wide, they are still settling in as to who the Knicks are in their DNA.’’
There had been some speculation that he could leave New York before the end of his five-year contract. Jackson's deal, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard, contains an opt-out clause after the 2016-17 season. But the team president said he's fully committed to the Knicks and fulfilling his contract. "Well, I'm in L.A. right now [and] I'm enjoying it," Jackson said with a smile. "But this is another part of my life. The energy that I have is directed toward turning this team around, and it's taken my full effort so far. It's been a challenge and I'm still in it and I'm in it to win it, so to speak."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kurt Rambis on whether Phil Jackson has ever given any indication that he could leave Knicks eventually: "There's no indication that he's not committed or he's not staying, nothing outside of this team has ever been broached in any shape or form."
To this point, league sources told Sporting News, that interference has been limited. Jackson has resisted his early urges to tear down much of the Knicks’ internal structure, as holdovers Allan Houston (assistant general manager), Mark Warkentein (director of player personnel) and Steve Mills (general manager) are still in place. Houston and Warkentein have limited roles under Jackson, but player agents around the league say that when it comes to talking to the team, Mills is still the point man. “You get the sense that it lands with Phil for sure,” one agent said. “But it is still Steve Mills that you are going to talk to first. That has not changed.”
August 12, 2022 | 7:41 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: The first draft of next season’s NBA schedule has Lakers at Dallas/LeBron James at Luka Doncic on Christmas Day, league sources tell me. Changes are still possible before the full schedule officially drops next week but Christmas games usually hold. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com
Although all of the rules and dates are in place, it’s an extremely open secret that there are no rules that truly govern free agency or trades. “There’s not a team in this league that follows the tampering rules to a T,” one front-office executive said. “But there are 30 teams in this league that find ways around the rules every day.”
One person from the league office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said if a better solution was presented the league would jump at it, but there’s no hope that any such solution exists. “The threat of harsher penalties and random audits doesn’t even make teams flinch,” the source said. “And at this point, if we investigated every possible instance of tampering, the whole league would come to a screeching halt and nothing would ever get done.”
Grant Williams said he has been in contact with Brown since the rumors began gaining steam this summer. “It’s a significant rumor,” said Williams who added, “It’s something you want to take for a grain of salt. I feel like JB is mature in his mindset; he knows that. I’ve talked to him, texted him…it’s one of those things, this league is a business. It’s one of those things you can’t be discouraged by.”
NBA Central: Kyrie and Russ in the lab 👀 (h/t @LakersDailyCom | via integrityhoops) pic.twitter.com/LST041ZNXI
August 12, 2022 | 5:50 pm EDT Update
Tony Jones: Sam Merrill received a two year deal from the Sacramento Kings, League Sources tell The Athletic. The deal comes with a partial guarantee, so he will have to make the roster. But the Kings currently have spots available. @Chris Haynes first reported an agreement
Chris Haynes: Free agent forward Justin Tillman who made All-NBA G-League First Team last season has reached an agreement with the Denver Nuggets, his agent Daniel Hazan of @hazansportsmgmt tells @YahooSports.