From the desk of: DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP
NEW YORK KNICKS: Phil Jackson Is Bringing Back Old School, But He's Too Cool To Be An Old Fool.
For nearly half a century now, there is a stream that runs right through the Knicks organization. Its source is the Lakers. These teams continue to be intertwined ever since the Knicks championship victories over Los Angeles, through the Pat Riley era, and now with the return of Phil Jackson to New York.
As I stated the other day, Phil Jackson now holds the position Pat Riley wanted from the Knicks. Those were the days of Paramount, with Dave Checketts serving as president of both Garden teams. But, this is James Dolan's team now. Or, so it was.
Phil Jackson vs. James Dolan:
James Dolan said he was gratefully handing the Knicks reigns over to Phil Jackson. We've heard that before, but with Jackson, there's reason to believe it this time.
Here's the bad. Phil Jackson needn't ever work another day in his life. If Phil isn't free to do things Phil's way, or, if James Dolan pesters him, or both, Phil Jackson will simply walk away, and the Knicks are back at square one.
Here's the good. Phil Jackson needn't work another day in his life! He is taking this job because he wants to, and feels passionately about the challenge ahead, and the team itself. Because of his history here, imagine if Phil Jackson returns the Knicks back to former glory? Manhattan would crack in half at 33rd Street from everyone jumping up and down.
As a player, Phil Jackson teamed up with some very strong personalities. Clyde Frazier, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, and even Bill Bradley were all confident minded individuals. Of course, Phil Jackson also went on to coach some of the more strong minded players, and self destructive players, to ever step on an NBA court - Shaq, Kobe, Jordan, and Dennis Rodman, and the player formerly known as Ron Artest. So, James Dolan can just grab a ticket and wait for his number to be called.
What About Steve Mills?
With his first yank of the reigns, the new team president basically said the Knicks are going old school. Translation - Steve Mills world is about to change.
In later radio interviews, James Dolan admitted he and Steve Mills had no real plan, and that without one, there was no reason to speak with the media. I applaud him for his honesty. But did you see the look on Steve Mill's face at the press conference? That was the facial expression of someone busy reading the writing on the wall.
I found it funny that Steve Mills was not asked a single question at the presser. I feel that's because he is now officially an inconsequential figure. He's going to be lunch meat, sandwiched between Jackson and whoever the president decides will coach the team.
I will be surprised if he is still the GM next season.
What About Mike Woodson?
There's not much to say. Phil Jackson will be bringing in some of his people. Coach Woodson is a good guy. Why bother critiquing now?
Finish out a miserable season, re-address the salary cap situation, come to an understanding with Carmelo Anthony, and start treating draft picks a little more preciously.
And What About Carmelo Anthony?
He's no longer a problem. It's Phil Jackson's and his staff's job to surround him with more compatible players, within Phil Jackson's newly implemented system. If Melo decides to opt out and leave, the Knicks will have that much more flexibility, and freedom to explore options. Otherwise, plotting a new course for the Knicks will take a little time.