On March 18, 2014, The New York Knicks formally announced that Phil Jackson had signed on to become their President of Basketball Operations, with full power and control over what the team does; from coaching decisions, to free agency signings, and everything in-between. He was hailed as a “savior.” Just days before, close to 100 Knicks fans were outside MSG, protesting for James Dolan to do something about the team’s shoddy play, and boy did he do something about it. He brought in Phil Jackson, a former Knicks player (1967-1978, 2 championships), and former coach of the Bulls (1989-1998, 6 championships), and Lakers (1999-2004, 2005-2011, 5 championships.)
It did not take long for good ol’ Phil to make his impact on the team, as he traded two starters, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, to the Mavericks almost as soon as the off-season began, for Samuel Dalembert (released), Shane Larkin, José Calderón, and Wayne Ellington (released). In hindsight, it looked fantastic. Tyson Chandler was coming off of a rather disappointing season, and Raymond Felton was gaining pounds by the minute. In the aspect of Raymond Felton, sure, it was needed. He was on his way out of NY, whether it was by trade or by release. However, Tyson Chandler was their best defensive player. Their only defensive player. Trading him raised eyebrows, yes. But everyone stood back with their comments, as it is Phil Jackson, the Zen Master. He knows what he’s doing.
He then missed out on the coach that he was “certain” he would get, Steve Kerr (smart move by Kerr, right?) He countered missing out on Kerr by attracting the just-retired Derek Fisher to be the Head Coach of this team. Then, at mid-season, he traded Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cavaliers of all teams, for 2 2nd round picks and some cap space. This was also noted as an eyebrow raiser, but again, nobody says anything because it’s Phil Jackson.
I love the New York Knicks. I always have, always will. Through the rough times and through the few years they’ve been very good in my lifetime. (1998, 1999, 2011-2013.) But this season is the worst season in Knicks history, and one of the worst seasons for any team, ever. Phil Jackson has done a terrible job of putting a winning team on the court this season. If I were to grade him on a letter scale, he’d get an F-. If it were on a scale of 1-100, he’d probably get a 30, just because he’s cleared some cap room and gotten us in position for a very good draft pick (1-3 guaranteed.) But he’s utterly ruined the Knicks.
This does not mean that he won’t be able to turn this team around ever, in fact, I believe that not next season, but 2 seasons from now the Knicks will be right back in the heart of the playoff chase. Please, Knicks, win more than 20 games next year. I don’t want another stretch like it was from 2003-2010. Please, Phil Jackson, end up being a better President than Isiah Thomas.