NBA rumors: Knicks, Nets interested in Blazers' draft picks

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.

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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.”
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Of course, Jackson is in New York but it remains to be seen for how long, where he goes and if its colors are purple and gold. Jackson and his fiance, Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss, both deny it’s happening. That’s absolutely true ... as far as it goes ... until Phil’s opt-out on July 1, 2017, with insiders close to both saying he could still wind up with the Lakers.
Not that Jackson is sitting around thinking about the Lakers at present with ore immediate challenges, like sticking it to everyone who says he can’t do his present job. Like all issues involving free agency, Phil’s availability will depend on the last thing that happens this season. The Knicks’ finish will decide if owner Jim Dolan is happy paying Jackson $12 million annually, which will decide if Phil feels like staying. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, the situation is fluid.
(Actually, it’s unlikely that Kupchak, who worked easily with Jackson, would have objected to something ownership wanted to do. If Jim didn’t want Phil, it was because of his own issues with him.) Stung as Jeanie was, she wasn’t then inclined to fight Jim, knowing her father didn’t want an inter-organizational struggle. Instead, she took Jim up on his off-hand vow to leave if he couldn’t get the team back in two years – which she took to mean making the Western Conference finals by this season – or in other words, so long, Jimbo!
The Vertical: When the Knicks wanted to re-hire Isiah Thomas, Donnie Walsh knew it would be a mistake. @Adrian Wojnarowski Podcast: yhoo.it/2fRJ2Dw pic.twitter.com/2Zq259uCbe
Q: How would you define Jackson’s time as Knicks president so far? Jalen Rose: He hit the reset button; signed Noah, traded for Rose to just see if they can make the playoffs. He’s changed the philosophy on the fly a couple of times and clearly this won’t have the ultimate success that Knicks fans crave. It is almost impossible for them to find an identity with all the roster and coaching turnover.
Q: What did you make of his “posse” comment? Jalen Rose: This isn’t the first time he mentioned it, but it’s the first time people are taking notice. He wrote about it in his book and how he would look back at the effect it had on LeBron, and he couldn’t have been more wrong. There was a level of elitism at play, not racism. The idea that this young player can’t take the future by his grasp and then be so wrong and yet double down, while your talking about a situation. For him to revisit the term, it was clearly meant in a demeaning way.
JM: You have an opt-out clause in your contract after this season. Do you plan to exercise it? PJ: I have not entertained that. I'm looking for this Knicks team to get back into a situation where they are competitive. Do I have to win a championship before I feel I've done the job I've been asked to do, which is to bring this group back to that competitive level? No, I don't. We're starting to make progress. I like a lot of the things we are doing here. But we've got more to do.
JM: Then why bother to include the opt-out clause? PJ: The real issue with the opt out was simply my rationale regarding the (potential) lockout. If it was going to happen in December and everybody chose to walk away, there was no way I was going to sit in New York for three, four months when I didn't have a job, because (the players) aren't even allowed to show up to work. So, in that case, I would go back to L.A.
Jackie MacMullan: You have been under siege since you've taken over the Knicks, which has been different for you. In your coaching travels you've been all but untouchable. How have you handled the adversity? Phil Jackson: I knew the parameters of what would go on from years of playing in series against the Knicks. I remember all the barbs. It's a process of sticking to my beliefs and being able to say, 'Whatever.' This is what I was hired to do. I'm going to follow the plan and if it doesn't work out, it will be evident.
Jackie MacMullan: There have been reports you are frustrated that (Knicks coach) Jeff Hornacek isn't employing the triangle offense enough. Is that the case? Phil Jackson: No. But when they run it I want them to run it the right way. If you are going to do it, use your skills and run it the right way. I'm not frustrated at all. Derrick Rose missed three weeks of training camp (because of a civil trial). It's totally understandable where we are as a ballclub. We have guards that do a lot of stuff off the dribble. I want them to understand they can do things off the pass. It has to be a combination.
JM: So, is it safe to say the Knicks will not be a "space and pace" team any time soon? PJ: It's my feeling when everybody does the same damn thing it becomes, 'Who has the best Rolls Royce? Who has the best, fastest stock car in this race we are running?' So if you have LeBron, wow, we're going to do the same thing even though we don't have the Rolls Royce? You have to be unique. You have to have something no one else is doing to have genius in this game. It becomes an ownership. I don't care about the triangle. I care about systematically playing basketball. If the spacing isn't right, if guys are standing on top of each other, if there aren't lanes to be provided, or rebounders available to offensively rebound the ball, or we don't have defensive balance when a shot goes up, all of these things are fundamental basketball. I follow it. I'm not railing, 'This is inadequate' or 'This isn't right.' Just show me what will work. Are we running around for no reason? Can we hit the first cutter? Do we have the ability to hit the second option or are we just bypassing plays so someone can hit a 3-point shot? It doesn't make sense to me.
Phil Jackson recognizes that he took on a lot risks this summer in trading for Derrick Rose and signing Joakim Noah and Brandon Jennings. Rose, after all, has played in just 40 percent of his games over the past five seasons. Noah was limited to just 29 games last season due to shoulder injuries. And Jennings is entering his first full season following an Achillies injury. “In our situation, [it’s] definitely worth the risk,” Jackson said Friday. “We have had two seasons that have not been successful, and we need to move forward and win.”
“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."
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