Mar 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
Phil Jackson shook hands with New York Knicks owner James Dolan, walked gingerly to the podium and comfortably lifted the microphones to fit his 6-foot-8 frame.
“I don’t have prepared remarks, as you can see,” Jackson said, practically bragging. “I’m shooting from the cuff.”
The skills Jackson showed yesterday – an ease with Dolan, a confidence that stems from winning 13 championships and an ability to speak publicly and persuasively – won him his introductory press conference. But today begins Jackson’s real term as the Knicks’ president, and a different set of skills – preparation and organization (though still an ability to work with Dolan) – will become essential now that the cameras are gone.
Dolan’s continued search for stars paid off in a big way. Yesterday. Today and beyond, this partnership exists at least one stage removed from the bright lights, in an area where the real work must be done.
Whatever happens from here, the Knicks and Jackson deserve each other.
Since he began overseeing the Knicks in 2001, Dolan’s defining move has been trading for Carmelo Anthony. Not content to wait for Melo in free agency the following summer, Dolan insisted the Knicks trade for him during the 2010-11 season. The result: The Knicks sent valuable assets to the Nuggets and, consequently, haven’t built a true contender around Melo.
At least Dolan got his star, the Knicks’ best player since Patrick Ewing.
Dolan has said the Knicks will often lead the NBA in payroll, because they play in the largest market. And kudos to Dolan for riding his advantage. But nothing precludes him from building balanced rosters rather than just chasing stars. Since Dolan took over, the Knicks have had more $10 million-salaried players than any franchise in the league:
And most of those Knicks players haven’t been worth their salary. Their cache inflated the perception of them in ways they didn’t back up on the court.
Jackson – whose salary is a reported $12 million, dwarfing his front-office counterparts around the league – is Dolan’s latest overhyped star.
Since retiring from coaching, Jackson has taken no significant formal steps to prepare for becoming a general manager. He hasn’t worked as a front-office assistant – his minimal contributions as a volunteer advisor for the Pistons hardly count – and he basically admitted to taking this job only because he’s too old to play and too limp to coach.
He doesn’t deserve a prime front-office position.
And with the exception of the pay, he doesn’t have one.
The Knicks risk losing their bester player this summer. Their roster is old, their cap space non-existent for next season. They have no first-round pick this year or 2016 and no second-round pick in any of the next four drafts.
This is a miserable situation only salvaged by New York’s drawing power.
That worked to get Jackson, but how much further that advantage extends depends entirely on the work Jackson puts in now.
Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, Jackson must plan to undertake the mundane tasks of scouting, analyzing and developing. As much as Dolan treats it differently, the job is not all glamor.
Jackson did what he was paid to do yesterday. But if he’s going to succeed with the Knicks, he must do more today while nobody is watching.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:59 PM EST
This has been an issue throughout his career.
Nov 25, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
He will be back before the trade deadline, not that he’s that easy to move.
Nov 25, 2014, 2:45 PM EST
Anthony was forced out of Monday’s game against the Rockets with back spasms.
Nov 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
Pierce loves his fans — especially those from his days with the Celtics.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:15 PM EST
Can you blame him?
Nov 25, 2014, 12:30 PM EST
Steve Nash also posts a message.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:45 AM EST
As a first-year NBA head coach, Blatt will face plenty of scrutiny as Cleveland underachieves.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
Lopez was benched for the entire fourth quarter in the team’s latest loss.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:20 AM EST
Stoudemire gets creative in taking a shot at the officiating.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:40 AM EST
Nov 25, 2014, 9:05 AM EST
Dallas gives up 111 points to a team playing without Roy Hibbert.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:35 AM EST
Not knowing about it and it not being about the Suns retaining Goran are two different things.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
Harden has played better defense this season, but check out this play.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:16 AM EST
Another “beautiful” bit of defense by James Harden.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:05 AM EST
Really, DeAndre Jordan trips CP3.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:45 PM EST
Anthony didn’t speak to the media after the game.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:00 PM EST
Scott Brooks says Durant and Westbrook have returned to practice.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:15 PM EST
The Raptors pulled out the win against the Suns.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
The move was first reported Sunday.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
Bryant has played heavy minutes so far this season.
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- Carmelo Anthony exits Knicks-Rockets game with apparent back injury 9
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- LeBron James on Cavaliers’ struggles: “I stink” 19