The New York Knicks announced on Wednesday that they and team president Phil Jackson are parting ways after three years.
“After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction,” said team owner James Dolan. “Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive.”
Jackson also provided a statement:
“The New York Knicks will always hold a special place in my heart. This team and this town launched my NBA career. I will forever be indebted to them. I am grateful to Mr. Dolan for giving me the opportunity to return here … I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren’t able to do that. New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best — today and always.”
However, Jackson’s legacy took an enormous hit during his tenure in New York.
As team president, the Knicks went 80-166, failed to reach the postseason and he almost ran the team into the ground over the last few weeks.
After future face of the franchise Kristaps Porzingis skipped out on his end-of-season exit meetings with Knicks management, Jackson began listening to trade offers for the gifted Latvian big man just days before the 2017 NBA draft. Multiple teams came calling, including the Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics, but none were able to meet Jackson’s ludicrous demands.
He retained the team’s No. 8 pick in the draft and selected another international player, 18-year-old French point guard Frank Ntilikina, despite NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr. still being on the board. It was all a part of his vision of building the team around Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez.
During the Porzingis drama beginning in April and leading up to the draft, the Knicks had already picked up the option on the final two years of Jackson’s contract as he tried to push Carmelo Anthony into waiving his no-trade clause.
Anthony was the man that looks to have caused the split. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Jackson and Dolan’s disagreement on the 12-time All-Star’s future in New York is what ended things. Jackson has publicly made it known that he wanted Anthony to waive his no-trade clause, but Dolan did not agree with that course of action.
It wasn’t all bad for Jackson, though. He was the highest-paid executive in North American sports, making $12 million per year. During his 1,200-day reign, he made $50,000 per day.