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Dolan: Phil Jackson was advising Knicks on moves at trade deadline

Mar 19, 2014, 12:42 AM EDT

Phil Jackson, James Dolan AP

At the press conference introducing Phil Jackson as President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks, team owner James Dolan said the conversations between the two started before Christmas at a party at Irving Azoff’s home (he’s a musical manager best known for being the guy in charge of the Eagles). From there conversations and a relationship were built over the months.

Those months included the trade deadline — and Jackson was consulting with the Knicks on potential deals.

Dolan sat down with the New York Times for a must read long-form story about Dolan’s courtship of Jackson. In there Dolan talked about the trade deadline.

Jackson was already becoming involved in the team’s decision-making process. Dolan said he sought Jackson’s approval on several deals the team tried to make as the Feb. 20 trade deadline loomed. Dolan, declining to elaborate on the deals, said he was reluctant to make a move that would hinder Jackson’s long-term strategy.

“If it was a trade that didn’t fit what he was thinking — and I couldn’t tell you the specifics of what he was thinking, but I knew he had a plan,” Dolan said. “I believed he was coming on board, and I felt I should consult him.”

This is exactly what the Knicks should have been doing — if Jackson was going to take over you don’t want to trade away players they want.

For example, Iman Shumpert. He was reportedly on the block — in fact a reported deal with the Clippers for Darren Collison was reportedly in place — but now we hear Jackson is a big Shumpert fan and wants him to be part of the future of the Knicks. (That or they want people to think that to up his trade value….)

The important take away here is one of the key ones from the press conference — Dolan trusts Jackson and wants him to be the decision maker. That is huge. I don’t know how good an executive Phil Jackson will turn out to be, but he will be better than a meddling Dolan. That alone is a step forward for the Knicks (as long as Dolan stays out of the way).

  1. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Mar 19, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    I cant believe I am going to say this but either Phil is helping Dolan save face or he isn’t as bad a guy as everyone thinks. Guy wants to win is what I took from the Mike K show.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      Nobody has ever doubted Dolan wants to win. It’s not like the Knicks’ rosters have always been cheap, which would be a sign that the owner only cares about profits.

      The main accusations against Dolan are incompetence and arrogance. First, he has made poor decisions. Second, he has usually ignored or fired people who challenge those poor decisions.

      The New York Knicks have a lot of the advantages that the LA Lakers have. Both franchises are based in big media markets that provide a natural outlet for stars to branch into music, film, or television. Both franchises have large fanbases. Both franchises are incredibly profitable and can afford to spend a lot of money. Yet the Lakers have been far, far, far more successful than the Knicks. Bad ownership is at least partly to blame for that disparity.

      • casualcommenter - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:17 AM

        That being said, I will give Dolan credit if he really has ceded all control over personnel to Phil Jackson.

        That would be evidence of humility on Dolan’s part, and it’s a sign that he’s finally accepted that he’s not knowledgeable enough about basketball to justify micromanaging the Knicks.

        The best owners in sports tend to be owners who hire smart people and get out of the way.

      • nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Mar 19, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        Good points and he def has earned a lot of critiicism

    • zerole00 - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      Pretty much what the above says, no one doubts Dolan’s intention but all the good intention in the world doesn’t make incompetence okay (see: completely unnecessary trade for Melo). Who knows, maybe he just didn’t have enough faith in the GM.

  2. cantonbound13 - Mar 19, 2014 at 6:44 AM

    Dolan is not a bad guy. He wants to win. He made a huge mistake in sticking with Isiah but he trusted Magic Johnson’s recommendation. If you remember, he stayed out of Isiah’s way & let him run the show. He will also spend & doesn’t care how much. He has wanted Phil to join the team for over 10 years. I think he’s figured it out & will be a great owner.

  3. tccoats - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    this reminds me of when jerry jones hired bill parcells. jones was going to let bill “run the show”…it worked for a short time, but in the end jones couldn’t help himself and parcells bolted.

  4. ocgunslinger - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    NY or LA. Both are major market legendary franchises and are in a rebuilding process that should take a few years for both to become annual factors. As far as Jackson goes he is wanted by the ownership in NY and not in LA. He can build a winner in NY just as easily as in LA. They will allow it in NY but not in LA. As a long term Laker fan I am wishing Phil well…..unless they are playing the Lakers.

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