This past Sunday, Phil Jackson began his cleanse of the New York Knicks by firing Mike Woodson and his coaching staff.
Jackson has been fairly open about his search for a new head coach of the team, admitting that Steve Kerr is a frontrunner, that he wants a coach by Summer League, and that he has several other names in mind that he won’t disclose. Jackson has also admitted that the next coach will help install the Triangle in New York.
According to Jackson in his press conference yesterday, his fiancee and part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jeannie Buss, tried to convince Phil to be the next coach of the Knicks. Via Adam Zagoria:
“Well, Jeanie Buss was here with the Board of Governors last week and stayed through the weekend and tried to encourage me to coach the team,” Jackson, the Knicks President, said Wednesday during his meeting with the media. “If there’s anyone who can encourage me to do anything, it’s Jeanie Buss. But I was able to withstand her arguments the whole time.”
Asked if Buss was serious about the suggestion, Jackson, who won 11 NBA titles as a coach with the Bulls and Lakers, said she was because it was a “lower risk” option for the team given his overwhelming success.
“For me, yeah,” he said. “Do what you know best type of thing.”
This is also how James Dolan first approached Jackson back in December — asking him to coach the team. Sources close to Jackson have said that he’s moved on from coaching, however, and a front-office role has long been his desire.
However, Jackson’s presence is as good as having an assistant coach for whomever takes the head coaching job with the Knicks. As mentioned, Jackson has openly admitted to moving toward the Triangle offense, and thus far, the coaching candidates’ names we have heard have all been disciples of Phil. They, too, will know the Triangle, and if it’s a first-time coach like Steve Kerr, Jackson will be there to help mentor him.
Now, whether or not the Triangle is a good fit for the Knicks and how Jackson tries to reconstruct the team is another issue. However, if Jackson is allowed the autonomy that James Dolan claims to give him, having a coach with 11 championship rings in the front office is a comforting notion.