As the David Griffin flirtation demonstrated, the Knicks already have their successor to former president Phil Jackson. According to sources debriefed on their front-office search, owner James Dolan is moving forward with a plan that has Steve Mills remaining as the permanent president. No negotiations have taken place yet between the Knicks and Mills.
In a move that was as baffling as it was predictable, the Knicks reportedly refused to grant autonomy over basketball decisions to David Griffin, who, as a result, took his name out of the running for the GM job, a source confirmed.
A source told the Daily News that one of Griffin’s requests was to remove Allan Houston, who has been with the Knicks as a player or an executive for the majority of the last 20 years. With Dolan’s support as one of the owner’s all-time favorite players (remember that $100 million contract extension), Houston rapidly ascended in New York’s front office and many believe he’s being groomed as the next GM under Mills.
Further, multiple sources close with Griffin said he’d require hiring his own front-office staff from Cleveland, including Trent Redden, the Cavs former VP of Basketball Operations. But apparently Mills’ power is not only persisting, it’s growing. He already left a lasting imprint on this team by signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71 million deal.
Al Iannazzone: League source confirms that David Griffin has removed his name consideration from a position in the Knicks front office.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has pulled his name out of the New York Knicks' front office search, a source told The Undefeated's Marc Spears.
Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Griffin and the Knicks were at odds over Griffin not having full authority on basketball decisions and Griffin preferring to bring in his own staff.
Jeff Zillgitt: Working for Dolan wouldn't have been an issue for David Griffin, who worked for Robert Sarver & Dan Gilbert. He wants front-office autonomy.
Griffin is expected to do television basketball analysis next season and has no other possible NBA job opportunities at the moment.
Marc J. Spears: Ex-Cavs GM David Griffin has pulled his name out of the Knicks' GM and president search after he couldn't come to agreement on the right role with the franchise, a source told The Undefeated.
After several conversations and a dinner meeting with franchise executive Steve Mills on Friday, the New York Knicks are progressing toward opening contract negotiations with David Griffin to become the team's next general manager, league sources told ESPN. Griffin, the ex-Cleveland Cavaliers GM, traveled to New York this weekend to meet with Mills, with whom Griffin has continued to discuss the shaping of a potential Knicks partnership.
Griffin is also expected to meet with owner James Dolan in the near future, league sources said. In the wake of Phil Jackson's departure as president of basketball operations, Mills is expected to move into the president's title -- with Griffin, if he becomes GM, taking over the primary responsibilities of running basketball operations, league sources said.
The Knicks’ free-agency plan changed when Phil Jackson was removed as team president. General manager Steve Mills is running the basketball department now. Instead of looking for players who fit the triangle, Mills is said to be seeking young, athletic players, and his first big move in free agency was to try to bring back someone Jackson traded two years ago.
“It’s tough to see anybody go, but I knew a change was going to be made,’’ O’Quinn said after dropping in on the Knicks summer-league team Wednesday to take photos. “We didn’t know what. We knew something had to be done. That’s what they chose to do. I wish Phil the best, of course. In any organization, no matter who it is, you hate to see somebody go. “[But] you could just sense it. We had a great team last year and things — the media, you blew things up a bit. I think the only way to get that negative stuff out is something had to be done. Not saying Phil was negative, but something had to be done to let the situation be at ease.’’
Knicks are reluctant to pull the trigger on an Anthony blockbuster until a new president is hired. The Houston Chronicle reported no “active talks’’ between the Knicks and Rockets are taking place.
Clarence Gaines Jr., former Knicks president Phil Jackson’s top adviser, reacted angrily when asked about an NBA TV video that some allege shows him and GM Steve Mills laughing at Carmelo Anthony’s workout tape. The tape showed Anthony doing running drills on a soccer field in Chelsea at 1:45 a.m. Sunday, taken by former Knicks developmental coach Chris Brickley and posted on his Twitter account. “I’m not commenting on that — get the f–k out of here with that,” Gaines said when surrounded by reporters.
New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek doesn't believe the franchise will trade young star Kristaps Porzingis. Ex-team president Phil Jackson had discussed the possibility of trading Porzingis with several teams prior to the draft, but no deal materialized. "I think it was out there that Phil was listening but he wasn't out shopping KP. We love KP and what he does so I don't see him going anywhere," Hornacek said on Sunday afternoon following the Knicks' Summer League game.
Jackson didn’t text a lot of players after he was dismissed, but he texted Ndour, whom the Knicks cut hours before free agency Friday after their second summer-league practice. Had Ndour, 25, lasted until midnight, his $1.3M pact would have been guaranteed. “Basically they needed some space in the salary cap,’’ Ndour said after the Knicks explained the decision. “That’s what they say. It had nothing to do with basketball. Just business.’’
“All I can say is Phil is the main reason I was here with the Knicks,’’ Ndour said when asked if this would’ve happened had Jackson not been canned. “Whether I’d stay with the Knicks or not, I have no idea. Ndour said he was surprised at the firing. “But it’s the nature of the business. He texted me and wished me good luck. I got caught in the NBA budget zone.’’
Marc Berman: Knicks acting president Steve Mills declined comment. "Not talking." Hasn't spoken since arriving in Orlando three days ago.
Ramona Shelburne: Also this weekend, Knicks had initial phone interview w/ former Cavs GM David Griffin. He's expected to interview in person w/in a few weeks
Steve Mills, a survivor of several regimes because of his closeness with James Dolan, has been trying to convince the owner that he should be elevated to team president. In other words, the Knicks search for their next executive would only be for a GM to serve under Mills, rather than replacements for Jackson and Mills.
Mills has worked at the Garden under multiple job titles since 1999 – not counting a four-year hiatus – and has survived lots of losing and an $11.6 million lawsuit levied against MSG by Anucha Browne Sanders. But most importantly, he has Dolan’s ear. Mills is part of a trusted small circle.
However, according to ESPN, Griffin’s hiring “likely” means he is moved to GM and Mills ascends to team president. A source said such a partnership could only work if Mills was tasked with the business, budget and politics of the team, thus leaving Griffin alone to build a roster. “A buffer between Dolan and the GM,” the source said.
Steve Kyler: Summer League buzz... Knicks have explored options to open cap space. They are a team to watch. Steve Mills is running things his way.
As the ashes from Phil Jackson’s tenure blow away, GM Steve Mills is making a bold power play to run the Knicks, a source told the Daily News.
Mills, a survivor of several regimes because of his closeness with James Dolan, has been trying to convince the owner that he should be elevated to team president. In other words, the Knicks search for their next executive would only be for a GM to serve under Mills, rather than replacements for Jackson and Mills.
A source said such a partnership could only work if Mills was tasked with the business, budget and politics of the team, thus leaving Griffin alone to build a roster. “A buffer between Dolan and the GM,” the source said.
Do you worry about Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri departing for the New York Knicks? DeRozan: I don’t worry about that. I think [he stays]. I look at it like, if I’m New York who is the next best guy you could go after? It’s Masai. Why wouldn’t they want to target him? I don’t look at it like it’s a bad thing. Masai has that reputation because he is great at what he does. That organization wants to be great so they can feel like they can compete. So, what is the first thing you do? You go look for the next great person.
According to an NBA source, the Knicks will make no move on Carmelo Anthony until a new president is in place to succeed Phil Jackson. As a result, an interested team such as the Rockets, who just acquired Anthony’s buddy Chris Paul, are on hold. Knicks GM Steve Mills is running the front office as the club enters free agency with a murky future.
Steve Kyler: Was told Knicks have cast a very wide net on possible new leadership, but nothing expected to happen quickly. Steve Mills running things
Steve Kyler: Was also told talk of Masai Ujiri and Sam Presti was more "pie in the sky" than substantive. There is a reason ($) those names got mentioned
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.”
September 25, 2021 | 1:42 pm EDT Update
NBA Central: “I talked to Rich Paul, and Rich Paul was the one who told me, ‘We want out. We want out. And we’ll go to whatever degree we have to go to in order to get out. We want to be anywhere but in Philadelphia.'” – @RealJayWilliams (Via ESPN | h/t Bleacher Report) pic.twitter.com/8TzNQQi1LB
September 25, 2021 | 1:01 pm EDT Update
The core leaders on the 76ers — such as Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle — and most of the team were set to take a jet to see Simmons before being turned away, sources said. Multiple sources said Simmons didn’t want his teammates, some of whom he considers friends, to make the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles commute out of courtesy because he won’t change his mind on wanting a trade.
The 76ers’ training camp begins this upcoming week, with Media Day on Monday. Simmons has mentally checked out as a member of the 76ers, sources said, meaning whether or not he ever appears in Philadelphia this season the organization may never again receive the same dedicated player.
So far, the 76ers have not received an offer they deem enough to move Simmons and the franchise has wanted Simmons back to rejoin an Eastern Conference contender. Philadelphia has no trade imminent, although teams are calling, according to sources. Simmons has four years and $147 million left on his max contract.
September 25, 2021 | 12:12 pm EDT Update
Darren Wolfson: Sachin Gupta wants Ben Simmons. The same hurdles remain, but can he now be more creative on three-team scenarios? That still seems to be the key. But make not mistake: Gupta is all in on acquiring Ben Simmons.
Darren Wolfson: (Gupta) is going to work his ass off to try to acquire Ben Simmons and he has full authority to do so. Glen Taylor, Marc Lore, Alex Rodriguez… Trust me, they’ve given him the green light