By Thomas Albano
And the New York Knicks fans sang one of the following (or both)…
The New York Knicks and Phil Jackson agreed to part ways on Wednesday morning, prompting sighs of relief throughout New York and tears of joy spreading throughout Knicks nation.
This ends (for the most part) a tumultuous time in the organization that has seen Jackson — the now former president of the Knicks — clash with players including Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, have an uncomfortable conflict with Charles Oakley, and give fans nothing but frustration after being brought in in an effort to rebuild and save the franchise.
For not just Knicks fans, but basketball folks in general, it’s a move long overdue.
At the very least, it should have been done before the draft, when Jackson drafted Frank Ntilikina with the team’s first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft — someone who can appropriately play the triangle offense Jackson wanted. Reports today have stated that if Jackson had been fired before the draft, the team would have taken NC State guard Dennis Smith Jr. (Side note: As I’m typing up this piece, I’ve learned Ntilikina has been injured in practice).
Where was Dolan the night of the draft? Playing with his band. So, shows you how much he cares for the franchise, I guess. Or, he used this as a smokescreen to ensure Jackson would get all the blame (but remember that he brought in Jackson in the first place!)
And keeping that in mind, Dolan wanted to honor Jackson’s contract the whole way through. This tells me there might still be some stuff we don’t know about that led to this sudden departure.
Regardless, it ticked me off last week to hear the likes of Bill Plaschke (and I love him and Around the Horn) to defend Jackson’s treatment of Porzingis by looking to trade him over a god damn exit interview. Plaschke said he was just doing a typical Phil Jackson thing of putting the young man through the ringer and trying to embarrass him after embarrassing the Knicks franchise (and to devalue his players so that way he can have a hold of them and not have to trade them).
Funny, considering all the Knicks fans I know, and all of the media, have given more beef to Jackson for what he’s doing than for the kid skipping the interview.
And even if you want to call KP a prima donna for doing that, if there are any people I can put angel’s wings and a halo on in this situation, it’s him and the fans. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say KP was the best player on the team last season because the whole Knicks team has been full of prima donnas.
Carmelo has been Mr. “Pass Me The Ball” (and though he wasn’t as bad this season, his little affair and getting ejected from quite a few games aren’t exactly “role model material”). Joakim Noah got suspended 20 games for an anti-doping violation. Derrick Rose is…well, Derrick Rose. And Jackson and Dolan don’t need explanations.
For all the “star power” this team had, last season was an absolute trainwreck. And it’s going to take a lot of time to recover.
But for now — ding dong, the wicked witch is dead.