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Report: Knicks, Phil Jackson have deal in principle for him to be team president. Or not. Depends on who you ask.

Mar 12, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

Phil Jackson Getty Images

UPDATE 8:30 a.m. While the New York Post reported a deal is done in principle (read below) they are the only ones so far, with other reports saying things are close but negotiations are ongoing.

For example, check out what Frank Isola reports at the New York Daily News.

The Daily News has learned that Dolan has solicited the help of Bradley, Jackson’s former Knicks teammate and longtime friend, to serve as an intermediary in the club’s negotiations with the Hall of Fame coach, who is contemplating a lucrative deal to run the Knicks….

The source claims that reports of Jackson being offered an annual salary of $12 million are erroneous and that Jackson could be looking at a deal that pays him in excess of $15 million. The person close to Jackson also indicated that the two sides have had preliminary discussions about Jackson possibly owning a minority stake in the team.

In addition the ability for Jackson to live in Los Angeles (with fiancee Jeanie Buss, co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers) part of the time during the season is on the table.

Understand that the leaks of Jackson coming and a deal being close give him leverage in these negotiations — he knows Dolan wants him, wants to save face with the fan base and he can use that to get even more out of the talks. This is the kind of game Jackson plays so well. He projects the air he is willing to walk away from the table (and he may well be, it’s not like he needs the money) and that squeezes the Knicks.

I still expect a deal to get done. But if Jackson can squeeze more money or more perks out of the negotiations, you can bet he will.

1 a.m. There’s a lot of reasons this marriage is likely to end up in divorce court, for the ending of this to be ugly.

But when did that ever stop people from getting married?

It’s been rumored for days the Knicks and Jackson were close to a deal, now the two sides have reached an agreement in principle, reports the New York Post.

Phil Jackson has reached an agreement in principle to oversee the Knicks basketball operations and “president’’ will be in his title, according to a league source.

All that’s left is the lawyers finalizing the last contract details by week’s end before Jackson officially returns to the organization that drafted him and where he won two titles as a player.

First off, take this report with a grain of salt. It is possible the details and/or the lawyers trip this up. Reports within the last 48 hours from Jackson’s camp said there were a lot of things still to be worked out (which includes living arraignments for Jackson, who currently lives in Los Angeles with his fiancée Jeanie Buss, part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers). Until there is ink on the contract and Jackson is standing at the podium making it official, this could all come undone.

This would be Jackson’s first time in a front office role and he will team with Steve Mills, the current GM, who will likely do a lot of the leg work. Jackson would return to the franchise that drafted him in 1967 and where he won two rings as a player.

What ultimately matters most is Jackson’s relationship with owner James Dolan. It is Dolan that likes to meddle in player/personnel decisions and has pushed the Knicks roster in a direction that it is way into the luxury tax but will not make the playoffs.

Jackson has this almost Jedi mind trick where he got players to buy into the system and play the role he wanted, but got them to think it was their idea (and when it’s your idea you fully buy into things). If he can work that magic with Dolan, essentially keeping the owner at arm’s length, then he will have a fighting chance to fix the roster. Jackson will provide at least a needed direction to a team that in recent years just seemed to assemble parts without a master plan. However what Dolan demands of his employees is more than that — such as radio silence with the media, a rule Jackson is unlikely to follow.

With this signing Dolan can save face with this after an ugly season, and he can now turn to free agent to be Carmelo Anthony this summer and say, “Hey, you wanted to see a rebuilding plan, I present you Phil Jackson and his 11 rings.”

But ultimately Dolan and Jackson will clash. It will get ugly. Then Jackson will leave and write another book.

  1. seattlesuperchronic - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:31 AM

    “But ultimately Dolan and Jackson will clash. It will get ugly. Then Jackson will leave and write another book.”

    That is some ugly cynicism. Let’s wait until anything actually happens before we poo poo this hire.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:21 AM

      I don’t think he’s knocking the hiring, he’s stating the fact that Duhlan won’t stay out of Jackson’s way and let the man do his job. And a dollar says it is a fact.

      • mbuda732 - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        That’s what contracts and lawyers are for. You think Phil will sign a contract that leaves him vulnerable to Dolan’s nonsense? Child please.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM

        I know Jackson’s smart enough. Question is, is Duhlan smart enough to stay out of the way? History says NO.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      It’s a Kurt Helin…..never expect anything good about the Knicks in a Kurt Helin article……ever.

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      What did you expect? It’ Kurt the heat fan writing about the Knicks.

  2. sportsnut101 - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:43 AM

    If hes worried about health why come to nyc health plans not great in this city lol
    But this bad move for stake of ownership n 15 mill is nuts

  3. jolink653 - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    There’s also never been someone in New York with the resume that Phil Jackson has, so until Dolan actually clashes with him, I’m gonna look on the positive side and say Dolan will respect Phil and let him do what he needs to do, if and when this contract is signed

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      Like believing in Hope and Change? Not gonna happen!

      • jolink653 - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Don’t have much else as a Knicks fan, so I’ll take whatever positivity I can get

  4. clevelandschronic2 - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:56 AM

    This signing will not help Dolan “save face” lmfao. The guy is most likely the worst owner in the nba, all he does is meddle with the coaches and players which has caused this mess. The NYk have been a train wreck for years and this wont fix a damn thing. PJ has never been a team president before, the roster is full of overpaid/overhyped players (melo,chandler,amare,felton, bargnani and many more) with no cap space,draft picks and add in the fact that Dolan will continue to meddle with the roster/front office there is no way in hell the “zen master” can fix the NYK.

    • antistratfordian - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:00 AM

      Hey, you never know. People can turn a corner. Look at Donald Sterling.

      • kinggw - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        Sterling didn’t change, he just lucked into a situation that even he couldn’t f up.

      • antistratfordian - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Dolan may have done the same thing.

      • paleihe - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        Sterling’s spending on his team has definitely changed.

        40 million practice arena.
        65 million Baron Davis.
        Trading young inexpensive assets for a costly Chris Paul.
        10 million on an un-developed DeAndre Jordan.
        24 million three year on Caron Butler.
        Max deals for Griffin and Paul.

        Those are all decision Sterling agreed to, not a situation that he couldn’t mess up. If he wanted to, he could easily mess it up for a much lower payroll.

      • zerole00 - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        Sterling definitely lucked into his situation, but it seems like he has managed to stay away from messing with the team so I wouldn’t say it’s implausible for Dolan to do the same.

  5. antistratfordian - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    Nice. Knicks fans should be thrilled.

  6. davidly - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:59 AM

    I love it. Apparently Dolan has achieved the most critical goal here: No matter how dismal things get, apparently this time next year we will be reading:
    REPORT: Phil Jackson actually runs this mess.

    And this without Jackson ever having taken a job with them.

  7. jerseyjoehaven - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:31 AM

    All this is= A big Payday for Jackson. The first time Dolan interferes with Jackson he quits taking an enormous buy out to go back to retirement. Thats until a real tean comes for his services.

  8. adoombray - Mar 12, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    This is the third time PBT has run a “It’s about to happen” link.

    It’s not going to happen, we know this dance with Philly J, if he wanted the job he would have taken it. Every day there are “leaks” to the press to keep it running in the headlines.

    Too much smoke here for it to be anything other than a smoke machine.

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    This is Bill Parcells to the Dolphins, 2.0

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      Let it go. This is nothing like Parcells. This is a guy with 13 rings as a player & head coach. He’s a legend with a lot more to lose if he fails.
      I think you’re nervous. Enjoy your teams’ little run because it’s coming to an end. We owned you in the 90s & we’re going to own you again.

    • unxpexted1 - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      I think it’s more lke Bill Parcells to the Cowboys

  10. bougin89 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Would Phil and Jeanie be able to get married if they each owned stakes in separate franchises? Not that they would have to actually get married(I’m not sure they have even made that a goal) but if they did wouldn’t that create a conflict of interest for the NBA?

    • therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Not sure about New York, but I believe California allows for same team marriage.

      • bougin89 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        Thumbs up for that comment, sir.

  11. therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    Just goes to show how desperately pathetic the Knicks have become. I would expect on April 1 Phil will crawl out from his hole and say “you actually thought I was coming out of retirement to work for who ?” April Fools.

  12. jcampol - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    He doesn’t even have the job yet can we wait on speculating on how it’s going to end? How about we speculate as to what his plan of attack will be

  13. spursareold - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    Phil jumps into a dumpster fire.

    • marcusfitzhugh - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      The year before Phil took over as head coach of the Bulls, they finished 5th in the east, 16 games behind the best team in the east. In Phil’s first year, they finished 4 games behind. The next three years the Bulls had the best record in the east.

      The year before Phil took over as head coach of the Lakers, they finished 12 games over .500. In Phil’s 1st year the Lakers finished 52 games above .500. The following three years were world championship, world championship, world championship. Before leaving the Lakeshow the first time, he had been to the Finals 4 out his 5 years. In the last year of his first stint in LA Phil’s team went 56-26 with a trip to the Finals. The year after he left the Lakers, the team went 34-48 and didn’t make the playoffs.

      If I could pick anyone to jump into the NY Knicks dumpster fire, it would be Phil Jackson.

      • spursareold - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        The Bulls had been to the conference finals under Doug Collins. The Lakers had been to the conference Finals under Rambis.

        Phil doesn’t DO dumpster fires.

  14. haaaaasoooooo - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    IF, and that’s a big IF, he does take this job, I bet he lets Melo walk. Melo=soon to be over-the-hill jump shooter who is NOT worth a max contract. If he wants to trade him, he can just roll over and tell Jeannie to let her bro know he can have Melo for picks/Wiggins!

    • mogogo1 - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      Melo will be the earliest test of whether Dolan will let him do his job. Whether he decides to let him walk or re-sign him, there shouldn’t be any confusion over what they’re doing. If it becomes clear they’re not exactly sure what route they’re going to take with Melo it can only mean there is internal disagreement… and that would spell huge problems in the Dolan-Phil marriage.

  15. cruzan80 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    The level of hate on the Knicks at this point is simply hilarious. They are about to make what is clearly a genius move yet it pains everyone (writers included) to simply admit that. It’s not a lock that Phil will turn it around……but it’s definitely not a lock that things….as Kurt put it “will get ugly” either.

    Remember when Donald Sterling & the Clippers where the worst thing in sports??? Things change people. I know it’s written in a book somewhere that everyone is supposed to hate the Knicks but “But ultimately Dolan and Jackson will clash. It will get ugly. Then Jackson will leave and write another book”…..really???? Lol! Last month Kurt gave us this gem “First off, New York isn’t making the playoffs. Well, unless you think the Knicks can go 17-8 the rest of the way.” Well guess what….their currently tied for 9th & on a 4 game win streak with only 4 of the remaining 17 games left against teams with winning records. A lineup change, soft schedule & a little bit of desperation can do that to any team.

    We never seem to learn our lesson. Dennis Rodman is too crazy for the Bulls. Shaq parties too much & Kobe is a ball hog. Kobe can’t win without Shaq & can’t make his teammates better. Dirk isn’t clutch….Lebron isn’t clutch……then the games are played.

    All I’m saying is instead of some of us doing our best Ms. Cleo impersonations… about we try the wait & see approach for a change…?

    Then again….what would be the fun in that?

  16. mdobrasz - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Reminds of my unfortunate Oakland Raiders…. Al Davis passes, they finally hire a GM, and the GM cleans house of all bad contracts. The team sucks for 2 yrs and now they start rebuilding. The Knicks might just see such a similar teardown and fresh rebuild.

  17. tominma - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Sems t me that Charlie Dolan is the NBA’s Jerry Lewis———-errrr……….. Jerry Jones!

  18. ricosports - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Well that does it. This will be my last time visiting PBT. PFT is a lot more interesting and unbiased right now anyway. Cant wait for this deal to get done so you can be crushed on the inside. You suck, Helin. Please delete this post… I know you will. DO IT NOW.

  19. culppeper - Mar 15, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    This too will end in divorce court…

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