Stefan Bondy: Phil Jackson says he had opt out clause p…

More on Knicks Front Office

“The front office stepped up,’’ Anthony said. “It was a collective effort. They did their job and did what they had to do to make things happen. Now they’ve put us in the situation to give us an opportunity. All we have to do is take advantage of it. I want no credit. Phil and [general manager] Steve [Mills] did everything. “On paper, we look good, real good. It’s matter of everyone coming together and buying into what we want to do.”
Ian Begley: Ex-Knick Stephon Marbury thinks New York is in good shape with Phil Jackson making decisions. "The first thing that they did was they appointed a leader," Marbury said on the TheKnicksBlog Podcast with Anthony Donahue and Moke Hamilton. "I don't believe (owner) Jim Dolan is making any decisions any more (phil) has the last say." When Jackson came to New York, both Jackson and Dolan said that Jackson would have autonomy in decision-making, something that previous Knicks execs didn't enjoy. Marbury, for what it's worth, believes that's the case. Marbury also called Jackson a "mastermind" and praised Jackson's recent moves, including the acquisition of Derrick Rose.
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.
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.
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.’’
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.
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.
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?
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.”
Storyline: Knicks Front Office
More HoopsHype Rumors
June 19, 2021 | 8:15 am EDT Update
Of course, the Nets will have their excuses to lean on in the event they are eliminated by the Bucks. Irving’s ankle sprain was a dramatic game-changer in this series, and though Harden looked physically better in Game 6 than he did in Game 5, he still wasn’t half the force he was with two healthy legs. “It’s not even about rust,” Harden said. “It’s about being able to move. … I’m out there to do whatever it takes to win. I’ve got to be better on both sides of the ball, which I will be for Game 7.”
Not yet. Not at a championship level. And, honestly, probably not near a championship level. “This one … this is going to eat at me for a long time,” Mitchell said. “Even when I go to the grocery store, I’m going to be thinking about this.” The Utah Jazz were spectacular on Friday night. Spectacular in building a 75-50 lead. Spectacular in blowing almost all of that lead in less than 12 minutes and allowing a Los Angeles team missing Kawhi Leonard to make them look like one of the worst defensive groups on Earth.
“It was a tough night for us all the way around,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We called timeouts to adjust how we defended. We tried stunting defensively. We went zone. But we got into full rotations and help situations, and we gave up looks trying to protect the rim. It was just a tough night. We were trying to guard the ball, and we struggled to stay in front. When Rudy came over to protect the rim, Mann made shots. Everybody made shots. Seventy-four percent from 3-point range is an unusual number. But there were things we didn’t execute on.”
George spent a lot of time with Mann at the beginning of the 2019 season, when he was working his way back from shoulder surgery. “T-Mann was like my sparring partner,” George said. “His tenacity was what I needed to get me back playing at an elite level. We challenged each other. I hope I was able to pass some things off to him. “He works on his game so much. One of the best young players that I’ve been around. Reminds me a lot of myself. He puts the work in. So, we tell him, we come out here, you work so hard, for what? Come out here and show it.”
“Happy to get the monkey off the Clippers back a little bit,” Jackson said. “But we are striving for more. This group, we have been hungry for one thing coming into the season, and it’s just still in the front of our mind and we just want to get better. Continue to come in here and get better each and every day. Excited to get home. Watch some film. Try to dissect it. Excited for our coaching staff to do the same and for us all to come as collective minds tomorrow to see what we’ve been doing well in this series, take something else from this series to go into the next one. We are going to enjoy it. It’s right back into playing another great team in Phoenix in two days. So we are getting ready for the challenge.”
“I know the Lakers are out and there’s a lot of Laker fans here,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, who played on the Lakers’ 2001 NBA championship team. “But once the Lakers are gone, if we’re not playing the Lakers, you should be cheering for the Clippers because it’s all in one city. I can just feel the love and I’m very happy and proud of our guys.”