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
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.
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