On Tuesday, Phil Jackson was officially announced as president of the New York Knicks. The deal is worth $60 million over five years. Garden Chairman, Jim Dolan said he is”willingly and gratefully” ceding control to the Zen Master on all basketball matters. It took Dolan and Steve Mills three months to convince Phil to join. Dolan thanked Irving Azoff for making the connection… and massaging it.
Phil said he would be open yet guarded with the New York media, and the plan is for him to move to New York but he will still spend time in California where his children and fianceé live.
Speaking of his wife-to-be, Lakers exec Jeanie Buss. This is new ground for the NBA. I’m fairly certain this is the first time a team president and an owner are engaged.
“Kobe, by signing that deal, will have played 20 years for one organization,” said Buss. “I guarantee that won’t happen again. … We don’t draft players at 17 anymore. To have the kind of longevity that he’s had, makes it extremely special and I think that Lakers fans understand that.”
“He’s such a competitor and I can only imagine what he’s going through right now because he has no outlet for that,” said Buss. “I understand his frustration and I will talk with him, and I will commiserate with him because I know how he feels.”
Realistically, changes to the Knicks on court product will take some time to fix. The team has no cap relief until the summer of 2015, which will be problematic in convincing Carmelo Anthony he should return. Jackson has indicated he’s interested in working with Melo but the general consensus is he won’t be too broken up if Melo walks.
For Melo, the reality is the Knicks are in rebuilding mode. Melo turns 30 in May, is he willing to wait? Staying in New York will net him more money but, a title isn’t in the immediate future, Phil Jackson in the front office or not.