The photo above depicts in a joking matter a pretty accuarate perception of New York Knicks fans and how they feel about the current state of the franchise. In this photo, longtime Knicks fan Spike Lee is leading the charge and showing this “get out of town” type mentality in regards to Phil Jackson. It was announced today that Phil Jackson and the Knicks agreed to part ways. Many Knicks fans and the NBA fanbase as a whole feel that Jackson was doing a poor job with the Knicks and his decision making and that this was long overdue. During Jackson’s tenure with the Knicks as an executive/general manager he has made some good decisions, but has definitely made more bad decisions. One of his good decisons was drafting Kristaps Porzingis, who has shown All Star potential early on in his career. Jackson and the Knicks organization were booed during that draft night, but a year later, those same fans that were angry with the draft pick, where praising the draft pick. When looking at Jackson’s tenure, that was about the only good thing that he or the Knicks have done.
The team itself has struggled to win games and seems to have no clear direction. They have a mix of young and veteran players, but other than Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, most of their team is replacable. The team should rebuild and start to build the team around Porzingis, but for some reason Phil Jackson and the Knicks organization decided to test the trade market for Porzingis around draft time. Jackson was willing to make a move and trade Porzingis if he felt that it would benefit the organization. Jackson was probably a little agitated with the fact that Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with the team. Phil Jackson is also stuck in his ways and wants the team to continue to run the triangle offense that was previously successful with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers teams that he led to championships as a head coach. It doesn’t seem to work, at least not with the way that the Knicks roster is currently constructed. There were also rumors of a falling out between Jackson and superstar Carmelo Anthony, so much to the point that it was rumored that Melo wanted out and Phil was willing to make that happen. Phil’s list goes on and on, but it doesn’t stop with just the current team and who is on it. Phil Jackson apparently was in and out of sleep during a recent pre-draft workout with a top prospect. As much as Phil Jackson is a large part of the dysfunction in the organization, not all of it can be placed on his shoulders.
The New York Knicks organization as a whole has been dysfunctional for quite some time and the team hasn’t been relevant on the court for quite some time either. Before I get bashed for saying that, the Knicks have made the playoffs in the not that distant past, but they haven’t been a legitimate title threat or championship contender since the 1990’s. The last time the Knicks got past the 2nd round of the playoffs was in 1999 when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals during a lockout season. The team has had multiple head coaches over the years and hasn’t had much success with any of them. Carmelo Anthony is still a good player, but he is nowhere near the type of player he was with the Knicks early on in his tenure with the team. Key free agents have considered the Knicks, but have passed on the organization for other organizations with more of a clear direction. One other scenario that hurt the image of the Knicks recently was that James Dolan decided to have former Knicks player Charles Oakley removed from the Garden during a recent game. Rumors circulated as to what actually happened and who was at fault, but both Oakley and Dolan made the organization look bad. Oakley never should have put his hands on anyone, but many argued that the Knicks organization could have handled the situation differently by pulling him aside and telling him that he had to leave. That type of confrontation shouldn’t have happened, especially in a world were there is a camera or a phone constantly ready to capture what is going on. Social Media plays a huge presence in the world today and in a matter of seconds a situation like the one with Oakley is posted on social media for the entire world to see.
The New York Knicks agreeing to mutually part ways with Phil Jackson was a huge step in the right direction for the organization. Jackson became too much of a distraction throughout his time with the organization and changed was needed. There are rumors that the Knicks are interested in hiring Masai Ujiri who is currently the general manager of the Toronto Raptors. Bringing in a younger executive/general manager like Ujiri would be a smart move in the right direction. Regardless of who the general manager is, the team needs to form some kind of clear direction and identity so that they don’t continue to stay dysfuctional. The best course of action in my opinion is for the Knicks to build the team around Porzingis and start to rebuild the roster. I would trade Carmelo Anthony and see what type of young talent and draft picks that they could acquire for him. I think Anthony could use a fresh start on a new team and to be quite honest, Anthony wouldn’t have a legitimate title shot with the Knicks unless they landed another superstar and more talent to go along with him and Porzingis. Anthony isn’t getting any younger and his best chance at a title would be to either get traded to another team or sign elsewhere once he becomes a free agent. Are the Knicks the most dysfuctional team in the NBA? I guess it is all a manner of opinion, but in my opinion they hold that title for the time being. Some people believe that they could very well be the most dysfunctional franchise in all of professional sports and that very well may be the case.
Author: Nick Eberhardt
Image From Bleacher Report