The New York Knicks have offered Phil Jackson a front office position and are expecting the 11-time championship winning coach to give them a response sometime over the next several days.
The New York Daily News reports Jackson and Knicks president and GM Steve Mills met sometime over the last two weeks in a secret meeting and Garden Chairman James Dolan has since met with the only man who was also a member of the Knicks’ only two championship teams.
While the 68-year-old Jackson reportedly told the Knicks he would not be interested in manning the sidelines as coach, assuming a front office position of some sort still seems a possibility. Since last coaching for the Lakers in 2010-11, Jackson has publicly maintained he has no interest in returning to coaching but might be open to running a front office in a fashion similar to the arrangement Pat Riley has with the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
A season removed from a 50-plus win season, the Knicks have stumbled to a 22-40 start this season in the watered-down Eastern Conference. What’s more, their locker room appears in total disarray with Carmelo Anthony seemingly leaning toward leaving via free agency this summer and veterans Amar’e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith recently engaging in a running war of words over the team’s style of play of cohesion.
It remains to be seen what specific position the Knicks have offered Jackson, but it’s rumored to be “more than just a consulting job.” Over his 20-year coaching career, Jackson has a 1,155-485 record, including his time as shot-caller with Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Kobe Bryant’s Lakers.
According to sources, one of the remaining stumbling blocks in Jackson electing to align himself with the Knicks is Dolan’s well-publicized meddling nature. The Knicks previously hired Donnie Walsh in a position similar to the one now being proposed for Jackson, only for Dolan to later interfere to the point of adding Anthony and Stoudemire over Walsh’s somewhat outraged objections.
Still, ever the thrill-seeker, Jackson seems of the mind if he can revive the Knicks his already ironclad reputation will be even more cemented by virtue of leading the Knicks to their first NBA title in more than four decades.