The New York Knicks have mutually agreed to part company with president of basketball operations Phil Jackson, immediately leaving a vacant spot at the helm of the front office, according to a team statement.
“After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction,” said Knicks owner James Dolan. “Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive.”
“While we are currently evaluating how best to move forward regarding the leadership of the organization, I will not be involved in the operation of the team,” Dolan continued. “Steve Mills, the team’s general manager, will run the day-to-day business of the organization over the short term. Tim Leiweke, who brings tremendous expertise and experience in sports franchise management from both Toronto and Los Angeles and is our partner in the Oak View Group, will advise and work with Steve on an interim basis to help develop a go-forward plan.”
This separation comes after an evaluation of the Knicks’ future plans and where the franchise is headed. The future didn’t look so bright with a clear disconnect between players, coaching staff, and the front office — a visible divide between Jackson and star forward Carmelo Anthony with his no-trade clause and ultimately Jackson’s rabid impulse to dangle the team’s unicorn Kristaps Porzingis in the trade market prior to the NBA Draft, which proved to be the last straw.
The Knicks are also locked in to a contract with injury-prone center Joakim Noah, as well as many surrounding questions about their starting lineup next season and the relentless desire to put in a now-defunct triangle offensive system in an era where up-and-down basketball is the clear direction where the league is collectively heading.
“The New York Knicks will always hold a special place in my heart,” Jackson said. “This team and this town launched my NBA career. I will forever be indebted to them. I am grateful to Mr. Dolan for giving me the opportunity to return here.”
“I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren’t able to do that. New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best – today and always.”