Mar 18, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks new president of basketball of operations Phil Jackson is introduced at a press conference at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks: Pressure is on Phil Jackson now that Melo is back

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Since the day he came aboard in the middle of last season, many people have deemed New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson as the savior of the franchise.

This is despite having no experience as an NBA executive. Just because Jackson is the greatest coach in NBA history, it doesn’t mean he will have similar results as an executive. Many great players and coaches have tried and many have failed.

Those who deem the Zen Master as the Knicks savior have absolutely nothing to base that on as he simply hasn’t done anything before accepting the Knicks job to earn that right. Assembling a championship team is a lot different than leading one as a coach or a player. If you need refreshers, just think Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan.

The facts are that Jackson could become the next Thomas for the Knicks as easily as he can become the franchise’s savior. The bottom line is we just don’t know.

That being said, I like his chances.

Jackson had one job to do this offseason and he accomplished it by bringing back Carmelo Anthony.

Those opposed to that can point out the fact that he overpaid for a 30-year old who has had next to no playoff success in his career. And while many will point to the fact that Melo’s other potential suitors dried up and he had no choice except come back to the Knicks, the bottom line is that Jackson needed to re-sign Anthony and got it done at the end of the day.

However now the true test begins for the Zen Master as now he has real pressure of turning this franchise into a championship one.

Jackson has been wise so far not to throw around a ton of money to be on the books next offseason.

Whether you think the Knicks will be competitive this season really isn’t the question as they aren’t a title contender, but what Jackson can do is lay down the foundation for that to happen with some smart moves.

He has the opportunity to make some deals, but doesn’t have to as both Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani come off the books next summer. If he is able to move one or both without bringing salary back it will help the Knicks get back under the tax line, which is a place they haven’t been in a very long time.

But the real pressure for Jackson is being able to surround Anthony with the necessary talent to win a championship.

All eyes point to next offseason, but it won’t be easy.

Kevin Love, who will be a free agent next year, has long been a target of the Zen Master, but Love seems committed to teaming with LeBron James in Cleveland. If that happens, the Cavs are going to be a tough mountain for the Knicks to have to contend with on a yearly basis. As will the Bulls and Pacers, along with a couple potential upstart teams in the Eastern Conference like Toronto, Washington and even Charlotte.

You can also likely scratch LaMarcus Aldridge off the Knicks wish list as Aldridge seems committed to staying in Portland.

Rajon Rondo has long been rumored to the Knicks, but the trade for Jose Calderon makes Rondo less of a priority at the moment.

If those three are off the table it severely weakens next year’s free agent class, meaning a guy like Marc Gasol could be the Knicks top target.

Then there is the 2016 offseason where I am sure the Knicks will be salivating to land Kevin Durant, but that will also be easier said than done.

The point is that Jackson will surely have his work cut out for him as the talent the Knicks need may not be there for them next offseason. He will have to get creative in surrounding Anthony with the necessary talent to win.

At the end of the day you can make the case that Melo chose money over a real chance to win. That may be the case, but I won’t fault Anthony for trying to get paid. I don’t want to hear him say his top priority is to win a title again, but at the end of the day the Knicks needed Melo and Melo needed the Knicks.

What he did in the process is tie his legacy to what Jackson is able to accomplish the next few years.

The Zen Master got the guy the Knicks needed.

Now the real pressure begins.

It sure will be interesting to see what Jackson has up his sleeve.

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Phil Jackson

  • KnicksFan

    Here is how an agent/financial analyst would view it. Chicago just couldn’t come up with enough money to compensate for the risk of NOT making it, and for the change of lifestyle for his family. IF Melo went to Chicago he would’ve only made about 75MM for 4 years. In a 5th unguaranteed year, he probably would easily command 10-15MM from ANYBODY. This would represent a pay cut of 40-50MM ( especially if you don’t want to count the non-guarantee of the 5th year). Anyone who would expect ANYONE to give up 30-50MM for a CHANCE to maybe win maybe asking too much. If he were offered 96MM over 4 years, ( 24MM per year), then he wouldn’t be sacrificing much since he is going to make about that with the Knicks. Maybe 90MM would’ve done it. The Knicks offer would have included only a 5th year guarantee ( part of which Melo could earn unless he became too injured to be a high earner like STAT). What we will never know is if there was some number that Melo would’ve taken less than 96MM to join Chicago and they just couldn’t do it.
    The Knicks actually got a good deal. If Melo hadnt Opted-out, he would’ve been paid 23-24MM next year regardless. The MAX salary NEXT year would be higher than this year. The Knicks won’t have to offer him a 5 year deal at a higher amount NEXT year, because they signed a ” 4 year extension”contract at the MAX level this year. They save an entire guaranteed year that would be more than 25MM. The Knicks also avoid all of the drama of next year ( will he or wont he sign ?)
    Melo gets the security he seems to want, his deal is like taking the 4 year max contract for THIS year and putting it on the backend of his current contract. That’s a good deal for him and Knicks.If he makes it through this year and makes playoffs, he will have a team with good management , a DESIRE to win, and LOTS of Cap Room for many deals next year.
    In the East we may have Melo/LeBron contests not unlike Boston/76′ers as both teams try to mold a team around their Stars. While we still have the Bulls out there…now we need someone to revive The Bad Boys and we will call this the NBA East Rennaissance year. BTW Dr. J was 33 when he won his only NBA title and needed the Arrival of Moses Malone to win the title. Melo and Knick fans could be so lucky.

  • Jakob Kaye

    Is Melo one of the greatest Knicks of all-time?…/when-thinking-of-the-greats…/