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.
Jan 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EST
She tweeted out a vote for him, and she has 18.8 million followers.
Jan 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Then he finishes it off with a dunk of his own.
Three Things We Learned from NBA Monday: Is it time to mention Anthony Davis with LeBron and Durant?
Jan 27, 2015, 2:02 AM EST
Jamal Crawford had a monster night, too.
Jan 27, 2015, 1:36 AM EST
This was not pretty.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:00 AM EST
Galloway has played well through two 10-day contracts.
Jan 26, 2015, 11:15 PM EST
The Pelicans blew out the Sixers.
Jan 26, 2015, 10:30 PM EST
Jan 26, 2015, 9:45 PM EST
The Nets have lost eight of their last 10.
Jan 26, 2015, 9:00 PM EST
They will wear them on February 20.
Jan 26, 2015, 8:11 PM EST
Durant suffered the injury on Sunday in Cleveland.
Jan 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
Will Steve Kerr start Klay Thompson or James Harden?
Jan 26, 2015, 6:43 PM EST
Did you really think Kobe Bryant was going to leave the game on anything but his own terms?
Jan 26, 2015, 6:20 PM EST
He likely returns in the middle of March.
Jan 26, 2015, 5:32 PM EST
Of course, Nick Young’s answer to all problems is more Nick Young.
Jan 26, 2015, 4:29 PM EST
And Russell Westbrook at center
Jan 26, 2015, 3:37 PM EST
He should be back for the start of next season.
Report: Kemba Walker could miss six weeks, Hornets teammates Marvin Williams and Bismack Biyombo also injured
Jan 26, 2015, 3:22 PM EST
Charlotte’s playoff odds just got much longer
Jan 26, 2015, 2:38 PM EST
It’s Hawks and Warriors and everyone else. Just as its been for a while now.
Jan 26, 2015, 2:04 PM EST
After Washington pushed out Jordan, Kobe re-signed with Lakers
Jan 26, 2015, 1:28 PM EST
Portland must return to East Coast for single game
- Three Things We Learned from NBA Monday: Is it time to mention Anthony Davis with LeBron and Durant? 5
- PBT Extra: Who should be the All-Star Game reserves? 13
- Report: Kobe Bryant “definitively coming back to play next season” 26
- Kemba Walker to have knee surgery; Hornets looking at trades for depth while he is out 6
- Kobe Bryant to have surgery on shoulder, is done for season 8
- PBT’s Weekly NBA Power Rankings: Hawks continue to fly high 5
- Kobe Bryant wanted to sign with Michael Jordan’s Wizards 7
- Pau Gasol’s trade tip put his and Marc Gasol’s All-Star futures in motion 3