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Knicks owner James Dolan confirms he fired Phil Jackson over failed triangle offense

Phil Jackson, James Dolan

New York Knicks owner James Dolan recently shed some light on why Phil Jackson’s tenure with the Knicks ended in disaster. According to the 63-year-old business tycoon, Jackson’s famed triangle offense was what ultimately led to his firing back in 2017.

In a lengthy interview with Ian O’Connor of ESPN, Dolan first described how he gave Jackson as much leeway as he could afford:

“Look, when I brought on Phil, the big question is, ‘Are you going to stay out of it?'” he explained. “And I swore I would stay out of it, and I did. I stayed out of it. And it wasn’t until the very end that I had to make a decision that it clearly wasn’t working. I think Phil knew it, too. I think he hoped I would have more stamina, but I didn’t.”

Unfortunately, Jackson’s failure to ingrain the triangle offense into the blueprint of the team was what ultimately led to the end of his three-year stint as the president of the Knicks organization.

“I think it was much more about this triangle thing. It was much more about his philosophy, that he couldn’t get the group to buy into it. And I think he got yessed a lot. I think they’d be underneath their breath going, ‘This is not a great idea,’ and he got into conflict with some players over it. But I think he tried hard to get his system in. I just don’t think he ever got it in.”

With 11 championships under his belt, Jackson is unquestionably one of the most successful head coaches in the history of the league. However, his foray into the executive side of the game was futile, and he may not ever get another opportunity. As proven by Jackson’s experience, success on the court and on the sidelines does not automatically translate into the front office.