Phil Jackson Rumors
Knicks scout Clarence Gaines Jr., who was a close adviser of ex-NYK President Phil Jackson, will not be back with the organization next season, league sources confirmed. Gaines Jr. was hired by Jackson in 2014 and served under Jackson as a Vice President of Player Personnel. His role shifted to that of a scout this season after Jackson was fired. Jackson said Gaines was instrumental in convincing him to draft Kristaps Porzingis in 2015
Many people in the organization saw Gaines and Jackson’s most trusted adviser during his tenure as president, which included three 50-loss seasons and external turmoil. It is unclear exactly why Gaines won’t return, though it’s worth noting he did not have strong ties to GM Scott Perry, who has made several new additions to the front office. Several people in the organization speculated that Gaines would not remain with the Knicks after this season once Perry and Mills began to shape the front office. Gaines’ status with the Knicks was first reported by The Athletic.
In a conversation with The Athletic on Tuesday, Walton would only say that Jackson, who coached the Lakers for 11 seasons between 1999 and 2011, had “some good advice” while grinning coyly. Walton was happy to share what Tyronn Lue told him about James (“He said you’re going to love coaching him”), but he prefers to keep his conversations with Jackson quiet. From team yoga sessions to his dissertations on meditation, the Zen Master had had a palpable influence on Walton.
James is closer to Bryant in terms of gravitas and impact than any star Walton has ever been around. And he is different from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at Golden State, where Walton was the interim head coach for 43 games in 2015-16. So while Steve Kerr can lay claim to a significant portion of Walton’s coaching philosophy, Walton, for this job, is leaning on what he’s learned from Jackson. “I think that’s more from nothing he said,” Walton told The Athletic. “I was there for eight-and-a-half years of that. I know what that relationship was like; I know how that dynamic worked. I think that’s part of who I am as a coach and how I relate to players.”
While many analysts blamed a poor supporting cast for the Cavs’ defeat, Bryant stressed that James needed to take ownership for his teammates’ performance. It’s a concept Bryant himself struggled to embrace early in his career, despite repeated pleas from coach Phil Jackson. “Phil used to say this thing to me a lot, when I was doing a lot on the court,” said Bryant, whose ESPN+ show Detail explores the technical aspects of the game. “He’d say, ‘You have to do less.’ And I’d say, ‘Well, my teammates got to step up more.’ Phil would say, ‘Well, it’s your responsibility to thrust the game upon them.'”
“Life is what life is,’’ Bradley said when asked if Jackson didn’t have enough time with the Knicks. “Three years and he had a five-year contract. They decided to make a change. You move on. His spirits are great. He’s finally getting his body in shape. He loves L.A., loves San Francisco where a lot of his grandchildren are. He still talks to people in the game. “Right now he is under contract for the Knicks. [A return] is not in the cards now. After that, who knows?”
Jackson’s record as president (80-166 in three full seasons) should not hurt Jackson’s legacy as a great, Bradley said. “He’s not just a legend,’’ Bradley said. “The record speaks for itself. He’s the most successful coach in the history of basketball. He did it in two places with three different groups of people. When somebody else has that many rings (13 total, 11 as a coach), you can talk about them if they’re better. He had a remarkable run as coach — a clear idea how the game should be played. And he was able to convince three sets of players that this was the way to play.”