Phil Jackson: Should New York Knicks Call if Legendary Coach Wants to Return?

CBS Sports’ Ken Berger wrote an interesting column about legendary coach Phil Jackson on Monday.

To sum up Berger’s column, sources close to Jackson have indicated he indeed has “the itch” to coach again.

Berger also notes that Jackson’s longtime girlfriend Jeanie Buss said in an L.A. radio interview Friday, “He’s got his energy back.”

May 8, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson argues a call in the third quarter of game four against the Dallas Mavericks for the second round of the 2011 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Center. The Mavs beat the Lakers 122-86. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

To date, no teams have called or given any indication that Jackson is even on their radar. But his 10 championship rings say that teams should be calling and doing so very soon.

Which begs the question of why wouldn’t James Dolan bother to pick up the phone. Doesn’t he at least owe the fan base and the current Knicks’ players at least that much. why not hire the best coach possible?

One reason he hasn’t picked up the phone is because he’s James Dolan and there’s really no other explanation needed.

The other reason, as Berger points out is that Dolan is more interested in putting on a show than winning a championship.

I’m a fan of Mike Woodson’s, but has he done anything to convince the Knicks that he’s a championship caliber head coach? After being severely out-coached by Miami’s Erik Spoelstra in the playoffs, that answer right now is no.

Could Woodson lead the Knicks to a title? Sure, but there’s no guarantee.

Jackson is a proven winner, not to mention the fact that Carmelo Anthony would be a beast playing on the block in the Triangle Offense? Given the fact that the Knicks haven’t won a title since 1973, you would think Dolan would consider all options.

Even if Jackson is a short-term fix for 2-3 years, wouldn’t it be worth it to potentially win a championship? I know that hiring Jackson doesn’t guarantee a ring, but given the circumstances I would rather go with the proven winner and take my chances.

That alone makes you wonder what the goal for this team really is?

The difference between Jackson and Woodson is Jackson is perceived as old and greedy and Woodson is a guy that when the Knicks front-office says jump, he says “How High?”

Much will be made of Jackson’s salary demands, but that’s really no issue at all as Berger points out, considering the franchise has the highest ticket prices in the NBA.

In September 2010, the Knicks signed a 10-year, $300 million marketing and sponsorship deal with JP Morgan Chase. Annually, that’s more money than each of the 30 NBA teams reaps from the NBA’s national broadcast rights agreements with ABC/ESPN and Turner. Revenue sharing, shmevenue sharing. The revenues from a couple of concert dates with CAA client Bruce Springsteen would just about cover Jackson’s salary, if only the Knicks would call


That’s really all it should take on behalf of Dolan. Just a phone call.

If the goal in New York is to really win a championship, it makes sense to explore all options and hire the best coach you can. I’m not saying it necessarily should be Jackson, but I am saying they are doing themselves a disservice by not exploring all potential options.

But then again, nothing about Dolan has really ever made sense.


Topics: James Dolan, Mike Woodson, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson

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