David Griffin, who parted ways with the Cleveland Cavaliers as general manager last week, is a candidate to join the New York Knicks’ front office, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The Knicks are assembling a list of candidates they’ll speak to. That process is ongoing, but Griffin has had an initial conversation with the Knicks and is expected to have more talks when the team moves to the next level of the process, sources said.
In addition, the team is not expected to ask for permission to speak with Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, sources told Shelburne.
Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari has reached out to the New York Knicks through intermediaries to express interest in the team's vacant president of operations role, sources said Thursday. The Knicks, who parted ways with Phil Jackson on Wednesday, do not have interest in Calipari at the moment, sources said.
Ian Begley: Kentucky head coach John Calipari reached out to knicks through intermediaries to express interest in the Knicks presidency, per ESPN league sources. The Knicks do not have interest in Calipari at the moment, per league sources. Presumably, Calipari would want to coach as well if he took over as president. The Knicks parted ways with president Phil Jackson earlier this week. Current GM Steve Mills is handling the club's day-to-day operations and is expected to lead them through free agency.
Isiah Thomas: I'm not interested in joining @nyknicks. I'm happy with the @nyliberty & NBATV. I wish the best for the Knicks and @PhilJackson11
Ian Begley: Jeff Hornacek was asked if the Knicks would still be looking for players to fit a specific system, as they had at times under Phil Jackson. "I think we're all on the same page. (GM) Steve (Mills) and I talked. I talked with (owner) Jim (Dolan). We're all on the same page. When you move forward and you look at your team, maybe you're looking at guys the same, maybe you're looking at them differently. I don't think you necessarily need to look at 'Does a guy fit this system or that system?' It's: 'Can this guy play ball, can we mold him into what we want to do?'"
Another name that has been mentioned internally as a candidate is Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti, sources told ESPN. The Knicks would likely need to offer compensation to OKC for Presti, who is currently under contract.
Frank Isola: One person close to the Knicks described Isiah Thomas as a "dark horse candidate" to become Knicks president.
Frank Isola: Charley Rosen also wrote that a big reason for Phil's firing "was the furious bias against him on the part of the New York media." Classic.
And for the first time since he assumed control of the Raptors, Ujiri’s future is actually a question. The organization is quietly projecting confidence that Ujiri won’t leave, but that’s either overconfidence or naiveté. Last year, Brooklyn inquired through intermediary parties about Ujiri, but it never reached any formal stages, bottomless resources be damned. A second team called last year and was politely rebuffed. Those weren’t serious.
Ryan Wolstat: Good reporting. Also heard today Knicks think they have him and one source from another team thinks it will happen for a first.
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.
Jackson was supposed to recruit free agents, and instead he chased them away. One longtime league official said the other day that while he agreed with Jackson's desire to trade Anthony to start a true makeover, he couldn't understand why the Knicks president went out of his way to trash the forward at every turn. "Doesn't he understand that Carmelo still has a really big voice amongst the players in this league?" the official asked. "No, Carmelo isn't the same player he once was, but LeBron and Chris Paul and a lot of very important stars really like and respect him. So what do you think those guys are going to say when Phil tries to recruit them to New York?"
A somber and shaken-looking Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek thanked Phil Jackson for hiring him 13 months ago and called it “a tough day for us.’’ Speaking at the end of the Knicks’ first summer-league practice in Orlando, Hornacek would not take questions from the media, only willing to make a quick statement about Jackson’s sudden firing Wednesday morning. Hornacek, hired last May, stays in his position as general manager Steve Mills takes over day-to-day operations for the franchise.
There were the familiar Knicks faces who will always have a voice, too, no one moreso than Isiah Thomas. In the wake of the Jackson departure, the rumblings grew quickly that the former Knicks executive who has always been so close with Dolan could have a chance of returning here. It would be a predictable about-face for Dolan, whose five-year, $60 million hiring of Jackson in March of 2014 was widely seen as a change from his dysfunctional ways.
Dolan’s interest in Toronto executive Masai Ujiri is real, not to mention the preferred choice of the folks inside the NBA’s league offices who want nothing more than this Knicks machine to run smoothly one day. There’s already a built-in connection as well: Tim Leiweke, the former CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment group who hired Ujiri as Toronto’s general manager in 2013, is serving as a Knicks consultant. He’s the CEO of the sports and entertainment consulting firm, the Oak View Group, as well as a partner of Irving Azoff, the longtime friend of Dolan’s who played a significant role in bringing Jackson to the Knicks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks owner James Dolan is targeting Toronto's Masai Ujiri to replace Phil Jackson as N.Y.'s President, league sources tell @TheVertical.
Mr. Jackson is leaving his post as President of Basketball Operations, effective immediately. "After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction," said Mr. Dolan. "Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive.
Marc Stein: In Knicks news: League sources say former Raptors exec Tim Leiweke is poised to help them as an advisor in wake of Phil Jackson's exit.
The New York Knicks and team president Phil Jackson will announce that they're parting ways early Wednesday morning, sources told ESPN. Conversations about what was best for the team's future between Jackson and Knicks owner James Dolan accelerated this week when the franchise decided it would not buy out embattled forward Carmelo Anthony, sources said.
It had become clear, sources said, that Jackson had no plans to remain beyond the two years left on the five-year contract he initially signed in 2014. So with no clear path forward from the toxic situation with Anthony, a constant public relations war over Jackson's preferred triangle offense, and new concerns about the organization's relationship with Latvian phenom and 2015 No. 4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis, sources said it was clear things had reached a breaking point by the eve of free agency.
Ramona Shelburne: Knicks and President Phil Jackson are expected to announce that they're parting ways early Wednesday morning, sources told ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Update: Knicks, Phil Jackson partnership could end as soon as Wednesday, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Jackson had no plans to work beyond the two years remaining on his contract, and with no clear end to the stalemate with Anthony in sight, discussions with Dolan accelerated late Tuesday night.
Ramona Shelburne: Phil had obviously made it known he thought it was time for the organization to move on from Carmelo, but with no way of doing that, and no plans to lead the organization beyond the remaining two years on his contract, Jackson and Dolan had to decide how to proceed
Adrian Wojnarowski: Owner James Dolan is weighing the future of Phil Jackson as New York Knicks President, league sources tell @The Vertical. Story online soon.
No final decision had been made on Jackson’s future late Tuesday night, but Dolan is harboring uncertainties about how much longer to commit to Jackson as the organization’s top basketball decision-maker, league sources told The Vertical.
Dolan has become increasingly concerned about Jackson’s fitness for the job and the long-term prospects of success for the franchise, especially in the aftermath of Jackson entertaining trades for Kristaps Porzingis, the franchise’s 21-year-old burgeoning star, league sources told The Vertical.
Ramona Shelburne: Following up on @WojVerticalNBA report re: Phil Jackson. Knicks sources indicate to ESPN clarity on his future expected in the morning.
Phil Jackson's too damn old to lead an NBA franchise and it's high time the Knicks kicked his geriatric ass to the curb ... so says ex-NBA baller Kenyon Martin, who just LIT UP the Zen master. We caught up with K-Mart hangin' with BIG3 teammate Al Harrington in NYC ... and when we asked the former Knick what he thought about the state of the current team ... he went nuclear.
“A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, ‘Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep during my workout.'” You know Williams just dropped an outrageous nugget when even Bob Ley, who has seen just about every sports story possible as host of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” since 1990, exclaims, “What?!?!”
"Nobody wants to go there and play in the triangle," one Western Conference scout told Bleacher Report. "Some free agents, I think the triangle is an issue," another Western Conference scout added. "But before you even get to the system, I think there are several other factors that are much more of a priority or influence in terms of desire to play there."
Ian Begley: Knicks owner James Dolan maintains that he's not involved in basketball decisions. "No, no," Dolan said when asked during an appearance on Fox 5 if he's engaged in basketball decisions surrounding the Knicks. "It's all Phil (Jackson, Knicks team president). It's all Steve (Mills, Knicks general manager).... I'm working on my music, they're working on the basketball team," Dolan, who in the past has been hands-on in Knicks basketball decisions, said on Fox 5 that people ask him all the time about the Knicks. His response? "Ask Phil." The Knicks have missed the playoffs in each of Jackson's three full seasons as team president and have made the playoffs just four times in the last 16 years under Dolan.
Adam Zagoria: Dennis Smith Jr. had dinner with Knicks President @Phil Jackson Monday night, per source. pic.twitter.com/FyxAGqF9pX
Portland owns the No. 15, 20 and 26 picks in this draft, and several teams are eager to get into that mix. The Knicks have inquired about some combination of the Blazers’ picks, a source said, and those talks are ongoing. New York has the eighth pick and could trade down for a combination of picks, though the preference for the Knicks is to keep their pick and add one of Portland’s.
Ian Begley: The Knicks have talked to the Portland Trailblazers about acquiring one of Portland's first-round picks, a source confirms to ESPN. The Knicks have workouts scheduled with at least one player pegged for a mid to late first-round pick in UNC's Justin Jackson and are looking to acquire a second first-rounder to add to the pick they currently own - the No. 8 overall pick. Portland owns the 15th, 20th and 26th overall picks. The Knicks and Blazers discussions were first reported by the Sporting News.
Mark Jackson, in sticking up for Carmelo Anthony, called Phil Jackson a “failure’’ as Knicks president. The former Knicks point guard-turned-television analyst said Tuesday, during ABC’s conference call promoting the NBA Finals, the Zen Master is “definitively’’ the best coach of all time with his 11 rings, but has done a “poor job’’ handling the Anthony soap opera and managing the franchise. “As a guy running the New York Knicks, he’s done a poor job,” Mark Jackson said. “Look at the results. He’s been a failure. Carmelo is an outstanding basketball player and handled himself remarkably. At the end of the day, he negotiated a no-trade clause, and he’s going about it the wrong way forcing him out. [Carmelo has] all the power and he’s taking full advantage of it.’’
But Gaines shut out the noise, saw the very rare combination of a 7-foot-3 player who can shoot from deep, pass well and had an excellent vertical. After watching him live in Spain that February, he texted Jackson that Porzingis should be considered the No. 1 pick. “His argument for Kristaps Porzingis convinced me to make that out-of-the-box choice,’’ Jackson admitted in the email.
“Bit of an odd duck,’’ one NBA scout commented, “but he has our respect.’’ Gaines, the Knicks’ vice president of player personnel and Phil Jackson’s most trusted adviser, does not treat the gym like a cocktail party, rather a place to zero in on the finest details of players. “Clarence has a dogged nature to find out what makes a player tick,’’ Jackson wrote in an email Friday to The Post. “He says that when he watches a player, he has to be ‘moved’ to get intrigued by his talent.”
Some scouts don’t know what to make of him. “Call him different,’’ Jazz vice president of player personnel Walter Perrin told The Post. “He has his own style — something Jerry instilled in his scouts. They sit away from people and keep to themselves. Jerry didn’t want his people talking to anybody. It gives them an opportunity to concentrate on what they’re there for.’’
Ian Begley: The New York Knicks have granted the Atlanta Hawks permission to interview Knicks Director of Player Personnel Mark Hughes for their general manager opening, league sources confirm to ESPN. Hughes, a veteran executive with the organization since 2007, has been one of the key figures in the Knicks' recent draft success, which includes Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Channing Frye and Danilo Gallinari. The Knicks, of course, have made some poor picks in that span but have been largely successful in the draft. The Hawks' interest in Hughes - and the Knicks' granting permission for an interview - was first reported by The Vertical. Hughes was a co-captain of the 1989 National Championship team at Michigan and has coaching experience as an NBA assistant and CBA head coach.
Atlanta is considering a number of candidates, including Griffin, Joe Dumars, Houston vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and New York Knicks director of player personnel Mark Hughes, sources said. Altanta is also planning to discuss the GM opening with television analysts and former players Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry, league sources told The Vertical. Houston has granted permission to Atlanta to discuss the opening with Rosas, its No. 2 executive behind GM Daryl Morey, league sources said. New York has granted permission on Hughes too, league sources said.
The statement, it turns out, only scratched the surface. When Michele Roberts complained in a mid-April release about Phil Jackson’s “inappropriate comments” on Carmelo Anthony, she had much more to say about the Knicks president’s use of his bully pulpit against the franchise’s veteran star. Much more to allege. “I think Phil was deliberately trying to shame ‘Melo out of the city,” she told The Vertical.
“Our players understand that they can privately complain about how a team is managed but they cannot do it publicly without being subject to sanction,” she said. “But it has to work both ways. If Phil tells ‘Melo in private that being in New York is not a good fit for him, that’s his right. But these comments were made in public, and it’s very disturbing because Phil gave him the no-trade clause and he has to respect it. He’s got to allow a player to make a decision for any reason – to win a ring, for money, home life, whatever.”
Anthony is a vice president on the players’ association executive committee, but Roberts said she had not spoken to him about Jackson’s remarks, or anything else. “I feel for ‘Melo, this is a tough time for him and I can only imagine how he’s feeling,” she said. “I know he has been talking to some other people so I’ll let him sort it all out.”
Bryant believes it’s now up to Anthony — long the subject of trade rumors — to decide whether he wants to make things work with Jackson in New York. “Phil’s always gonna speak his mind and speak his opinion,” Bryant told the Daily News during the Tribeca Film Festival. “It all depends on the athlete and what the athlete wants to do with it. If you want to shun it, or do you want to use it as fuel to be better?”
But Bryant says he and Jackson are very close now and credits his longtime coach for helping him see basketball at a higher level. “You can’t enjoy the springtime without having an awful winter,” Bryant said. “You’ve got to go through those things. It’s just a matter of do you want to stay together and work those things out, and be determined to build a championship team? Or do you want to go separate ways.”
Porzingis passed on the exit interviews, as ESPN’s Ian Begley first reported, and league sources say Porzingis is planning a long trip back to Latvia that may not include a return to New York until closer to the start of training camp. Porzingis isn’t alone. Players are privately fuming that they want no part of the organization’s summer slate of triangle offense regimen at the team’s suburban New York practice facility, league sources told The Vertical. In reality, there’s an open rebellion to the triangle – for the offense itself, and by extension, the discord and dysfunction that its implementation has burdened upon everyone.
He trusted former coach Derek Fisher and the individual instruction delivered to him, league sources said. Beyond Jackson’s anger with Fisher moving away from the triangle, there were disagreements about how to use Porzingis in the offense and about how to approach his skill development, league sources said.
Ohm Youngmisuk: NBPA executive director Michele Roberts labeled Phil Jackson's comments on likely splitting with Carmelo Anthony as "inappropriate" and spoke with Adam Silver about it. "We voiced with the Commissioner today our view on the inappropriate comments by Knicks President Phil Jackson," Roberts said in a NBPA statement. "If players under contract cannot, under threat of league discipline, speak openly about their desire to be employed elsewhere, we expect management to adhere to the same standards. The door swings both ways when it comes to demonstrating loyalty and respect."
“We had a good conversation with him today,’’ Jackson said. “He expressed that he wants to be back. We talked about him going through rehab and work and whatever he has to do. And he’s chosen to go back to Chicago to do that. He’ll also be in L.A., but he also took the time out to say he really he enjoyed playing here even with the losses, which of course surprises us because he’s been on some very successful teams. But he wants to redeem himself as a player, which I like that attitude. I like who Derrick represents as himself. He’s very direct about taking on a big challenge.’’
The prevailing thought is Jackson will take a point guard in the draft with his top-10 lottery pick. Nevertheless, when asked about the need for a point guard, Jackson turned the topic back to Rose, who could be snared on a one-year deal. “Either the draft or somewhere down the line in free agency,’’ Jackson said. “Derrick has expressed hopes coming back. We have some options. Derrick is a scoring guard first and foremost, organizing, leading, stuff like that is not particularly his strength. As a scorer, he is unparalleled. As someone told me today, he is still a leading guy in scoring in the paint. That says something that this guy is willing to take it in there and challenge.’’
New York Knicks owner James Dolan made a public commitment to honor Phil Jackson's five-year contract as team president in February. He has since followed through on that pledge. Sources familiar with the situation told ESPN that the Knicks and Jackson quietly picked up their option on the remaining two years of his contract this spring.
There was some speculation that either Jackson or the Knicks would want to end the relationship as the option trigger approached, but sources told ESPN that the final two years of Jackson's contract were picked up "a while ago." Dolan said he planned to honor his five-year contract with Jackson "all the way to the end" during a Feb. 10 radio interview on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
New York has been in the bottom third of the NBA on defense all season long, which is the chief reason the club will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Jeff Hornacek is well aware of this. The head coach hinted on Monday that it’s an issue that will be dealt with in the offseason. “I think if you look at our defense this year, we can use some more defensive players,” Hornacek said. “[Management] will look at that. [General manager] Steve [Mills] and [president] Phil [Jackson] and those guys will look at whatever can help us out. We know we need some help there.”
A free agent last summer, center Pau Gasol waited for a call from Knicks president Phil Jackson. Lakers president Jeanie Buss once told confidants Jackson considered Gasol his favorite Laker to coach. Obsessed with the younger, more defense-oriented Joakim Noah, Jackson had tunnel vision when it came to filling his center role. “No, no contact,” Gasol said before he looked as smooth as ever in scorching the Knicks for 19 points Saturday in San Antonio. “I was surprised, too.”
But in a podcast released Tuesday with The Vertical, Fisher – who is looking for another job on an NBA bench or front office – was no longer pushing back at the idea that the Knicks changed their perception following the incident. “It’s possible and I can understand why just on appearance you would be viewed differently,” Fisher told The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “Hindsight is always 20/20.”
Fisher said he flew from New York to L.A. on a Saturday to spend Sunday with his children during training camp of last season. On Saturday evening, however, he went to the home of his girlfriend – Gloria Govan, the ex-wife of Barnes – and was attacked by his former Lakers teammate. He then tried to catch a red-eye home on Sunday, but an issue with the private plane caused him to miss the preseason practice.
“Looking back, I don’t regret going to see my kids on Sunday. But I shouldn’t have put myself in a position where what happened that Saturday night happened,” Fisher said. “As a coach, if a player had come to me and said, ‘I want to spend the day with my kids’ − as long as he was back to practice on Monday, I would’ve supported that. Then if I had read about something happening to him Saturday night, I would’ve been disappointed as well. Looking back at it from that perspective, I hate that I put myself in a position where I became the focal point.”
Times have changed, Checketts said, as have expectations. “They are way lower than ever before,” he said of the Knicks in a telephone interview. “I’m not mocking them. I’m just saying — making the playoffs would be a gigantic accomplishment for them.” Checketts added: “For the teams we had, we couldn’t afford to not at least make a case that we could win it all. But I don’t think there’s any question that they could get away with rebuilding now because the fan base has been built over time and the expectations are so much lower. But I think it’s going to be important to communicate it purposefully and properly.”
Barbara Barker: Carmelo Anthony: "Middle of march and we’re still talking about the system we’re running instead of playing basketball." #Knicks
“That’s what happened with the Lakers. Dr. Buss hired West, who established a culture that brought 20 years of winning. West wasn’t afraid to bring in Phil Jackson, but then West left, Phil left, Phil came back, left again, wrote a book criticizing everyone.” In other words, the Lakers began to operate more like the Knicks. When Jerry Buss died in 2013, that left the franchise to the relatively faceless, feeble leadership of his son, Jim. Now Jeanie Buss has won, at least temporarily, an ownership power struggle with her brothers, Jim and Johnny, and she chose Magic. “To me, it’s a no-brainer that Earvin was given that position to capture the attention of the people in L.A. and to try to recapture that sense of continuity,” Riley said.
Who knows if Jackson is even thinking about tanking the rest of the season. No one ever knows what he's thinking because he doesn't speak with the media like he doesn't speak to opposing executives. One NBA general manager told me last week in New Orleans that his team "can't get a hold of Phil. It's crazy."
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said he doesn't understand management's vision for the future after the club's inactivity at Thursday's trade deadline. "No, not now. No, to be honest with you," Anthony said late Thursday night. "I think they were kind of planning on the trade deadline, whether they were trying to make moves. I think that was one plan. Now they've got to get back to the drawing board and come up with another plan about the future of this team."
Anthony said he had "no reaction" to the team's lack of moves but acknowledged that it is frustrating to be unsure of the approach that management, namely team president Phil Jackson, will take with the team at this point. "Yeah, I mean, nobody likes to be in limbo," Anthony said. "We all want to know kind of what's going on, especially when it's involving you. But that's not the way it is in sports. I don't think I'm the only one that's going through that or feeling that way. I think there's other players who feel the same way, that they want to be involved -- not involved, but at least up to date with what's going on. I feel like I'm kind of up to date as far as when it comes to me what's going on."
“That ’99 team is the only one I remember going to the championship in recent history,’’ Webber said of that Sprewell-led Knicks club that faced the Spurs. “It would make sense to have all those guys there. Think about recent Knicks memories — that Miami series. It would make sense to keep those memories there. “I had friends calling me from New York — Spree’s here, Spree’s here. It was a good memory for everyone to remind people what it was like in the good days.”
“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told The Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter.” According to Reed, it is less a health issue with Jackson, 71, and more an 11-rings mindset of “Let the record stand for itself.” Reed said he thinks Jackson still can reach modern players. “When I was a young player, the most impressive coach for me would’ve been Red Auerbach because of his record,’’ Reed said. “Same thing with Phil Jackson with his record in Chicago and L.A. I’d want to play for Phil Jackson. He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”
The New York Knicks lifted their ban on former player Charles Oakley on Tuesday, sources told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith and The Undefeated's Mike Wise. A source within the Madison Square Garden organization told Smith of the move, while Wise was informed by a source close to Oakley.
Ian Begley: James Dolan says he won't get involved if Phil Jackson wants to trade Carmelo Anthony. Great questions by Michael Kay.
Adi Joseph: Dolan on Phil Jackson: "Whether I like the results or don't like the results, I am going to honor that (contract) until the end."
Howard Beck: Dolan says he will honor full 5 years of Phil Jackson's deal; no intention to exercise opt-out this year. Expects Phil not to opt out either
Tim Bontemps: James Dolan is asked about the direction of the franchise and says he's given full control to Phil Jackson and it remains that way.
UNDISPUTED: "[Phil Jackson] is embarrassing himself because he's a 71-year old man acting like a child." — @Chris_Broussard on Phil's tweet about Melo.
James, who will play at the Garden Saturday night, pulled the equivalent of a “no comment” when asked about the fractured relationship of Anthony and Phil Jackson. “It’s not for me comment on. Like I said, I can’t really comment on somebody else’s relationship,” James said. “I can only give my advice and words of encouragement (to Carmelo). It’s like if you’re trying to comment on somebody else’s marriage. You’re not with them every day. You don’t know what they’re going through. You don’t where the communication broke down, so you can’t comment on that. That’s what (journalists) do. I just want the best for him. And I want him to be happy playing the game he loves. If it’s here great. If it’s not, then great as here as well.”
“There’s enough analysts, reporters, that always like to talk about what should’ve, could’ve, what they did, so we don’t pay much attention to it,” Hornacek said after the Knicks’ morning shoot-around at Verizon Center. “Whatever he did last year, he had a year and a half here, his relationship with Phil, whatever it was, again, this is a new year. “Everything’s new. Again, he may have thought he did something with that team from last year. I’m not concerned about that. I don’t think our guys are. So just go play.”
Fisher told Bleacher Report that the Knicks performed better last year, when he was the coach for 54 games, than they are this season under Hornacek. Fisher told the website: "We were able to take a team that wasn't as talented as the team they have now, and we were much better and much further along than this group is that they have now. Because the foundation was being laid." When asked about Fisher's comments on Tuesday, Hornacek replied: "There are enough analysts, reporters that always like to talk about what shoulda, coulda, what they did. So we don't pay much attention to that.”
Fisher indicated the team struggled with knowing who was running the team, Jackson or the head coach. That mostly stems from Jackson's insistence on running the triangle, which Fisher moved away from. Hornacek acknowledged that Jackson's presence can be confusing for the players. "I think maybe (the players) think that occasionally," he said.
The problem, however, is that Jackson is willing to deal Anthony without getting one of the Clippers top three players in return. As the Daily News reported on Thursday, Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are not part of the proposed package. Instead, the names being floated are Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers, two back-up guards with undesirable contracts. Or as one general manager told me on Friday, “if this trade happens, Phil could be sued for malpractice.”
While slamming Dolan as the “constant” in the Knicks “chaos,” Woj also ripped Jackson, now in his third season as GM. “That's what's been the constant, that the level of chaos that's gone on there, the constant's been the owner. So you're back to, again, Phil Jackson with Jeff Hornack 'Well I want you to run the triangle’ or 'You've got to keep Kurt Rambis who I really wanted as the head coach. He's got to be your defensive coordinator.’”
Appearing on Boomer and Carton Friday, Woj said players and their agents are recognizing what’s going on with the Nets and compared it with the Knicks. “I talk to players around the league, agents, people. They like what's in Brooklyn to send their guys to in the future. The coaching, the organization, everything around it. The Knicks still don't have that. And it gets back to this: Whether Donnie Walsh is GM, who did a tremendous job, or whether it's Phil Jackson, it will always be James Dolan's culture there.”
Asked if he got the sense that management wanted him to stay with the Knicks, Anthony said: "It was a quick meeting. That's all I can say."
Al Iannazzone: Melo also said the meeting with Knicks officials was not contentious as it was originally reported.
However, during my six seasons on my own as a head coach in the CBA, I had to learn to see the game (and to coach) according to my own lights. It should also be noted that through the years, Phil and I have not always agreed on personnel and specific game plans. So, although I have often been called Phil’s mouthpiece by fans and some in the media, I have never consulted him about the content or general themes of any of the thousands of columns I’ve written for various sports web sites. NEVER!
“I’m not a standings guy this early, but look at it,” Anthony said. “I’m very optimistic of what we can do. I’m the most positive person there is.” Asked in Philadelphia on Wednesday if he still had faith in the Phil Process, Anthony said, “I’ll always have faith as long as I’m here. I’ll always have faith in my ability and our team’s ability.” Whether Jackson still has faith in Anthony is a different story.
Anthony's relationship with Jackson has never been great and it's much worse now. It didn't help that Jackson would not grant Anthony his wish last May and interview Tom Thibodeau for the head coaching job. Plus, Jackson publicly criticizing Anthony for stalling the offense didn't go over well either. Anthony is becoming increasingly frustrated with losing and Jackson's inability to do anything about it. He reached a breaking point on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Maybe that's a good thing.
Gaines, who worked as a Bulls scout with Jackson in Chicago, was the major player in the Knicks tabbing Langston Galloway two years ago out of the D-League and is credited with pushing Jackson to draft Kristaps Porzingis at No. 4 in 2015. After scouting Porzingis in Spain, Gaines told Jackson and general manager Steve Mills he should be taken No. 1 overall. According to the source, Gaines believes Ndour can turn into a defensive stopper at the small forward position and wants to develop him. Ndour hasn’t been in the rotation, but has played seven games with Westchester and the club remains committed.
Carmelo Anthony joked that Phil Jackson’s chances of returning to the Lakers took a major hit when he and Jeannie Buss ended their engagement. “That put an end to that, didn’t it?” Anthony said with a laugh.
Jackson fully intends to finish the two years after this season on his Knicks contract, according to NBA sources. Despite all the attention on his opt-out clause in 2017, he might even want to do a new deal that starts in 2019. Jackson's competitive fire is fully aflame now that the Knicks are on the upswing—they are 14-11 and have won 11 of their past 16 games entering Thursday night against the Golden State Warriors—but it's more than just feeling better about his work.
October 23, 2021 | 5:29 pm EDT Update
Mike Trudell: After Saturday’s practice, Russell Westbrook continued to note how much the Lakers want to win every game, balanced with knowledge it’s gonna take time to gel. Also noted the pace being obviously faster in the fourth quarter on Friday, with Davis at the 5, which opened things up.
October 23, 2021 | 5:15 pm EDT Update
Harrison Faigen: The South Bay Lakers just finalized their training camp roster, with the expected names of Chaundee Brown Jr., Frank Mason III, Mac McClung and Cam Oliver on the team. A semi surprise? Longtime SBL vet Andre Ingram, re-joining the team for a 13th G League season at 35 years old.