Back in March, as the basketball season was coming to an end, toward a postseason the New York Knicks would miss after a disastrous year, the fans were being sold on a new savior of the future. Being sold on the fact that this season was a mirage and change was on the horizon. The future would be in the hands of a guy who was the head coach of eleven NBA championship teams.
Phil Jackson, perhaps the best coach in NBA history, signed a 5 year $60 million dollar contract with the New York Knicks, to be the President of Basketball Operations. At 68 years old, and with different health problems, Phil has no desire to coach. So as he usually does, Jim Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, out of desperation to save face and get people talking about things other than his pathetic product on the court, gave $60 million to a guy who made a name for himself as a coach, the keys to run his franchise, something Phil has never done. Dolan couldn’t use his money to convince Phil to coach, so he gave him $60 million to run the team.
Jackson’s first move as president was firing Knicks head coach Mike Woodson after the season. Immediately rumors begin to fly that Steve Kerr was the leading candidate to replace Woodson. Kerr, a five time NBA champion, played for Phil Jackson and remains close friends with him, never coached a day in his life, but he knew the system Jackson wants this franchise to run. After stringing the process along, Steve Kerr took the head coaching job in Golden State instead, leaving Phil searching for another coach.
There have been many names the last few days, of candidates to become the next coach of the New York Knicks, but in reality, the best candidate is the guy who was handed $60 million dollars, the guy with 11 championship rings as a coach. The Knicks fan base is an impatient one, coming off an embarrassing season after being 2 wins away the year before, from the Eastern Conference Finals, and they are not prepared to wait patiently for a rookie head coach to learn the ropes of what it takes to be a successful head coach in the NBA.
Phil Jackson must coach this team himself and have his future replacement as his lead assistant to learn under him the same way Pat Riley did with Erik Spoelstra down in Miami with the Heat. That is probably the only option since he does not want to hire a coach that is already well established. Phil is being paid $60 million dollars to turn this franchise around, to lure big names back to New York, and on his first big recruiting job, he took a big swing and missed, badly. He had no other candidates during this process, no backup plan. Steve Kerr was plan a, plan b, and plan c, but he said no.
Now, the only thing Phil can do is coach this team himself, give Knicks fans hope, and show them he is willing to do everything in his power to bring an NBA championship back to the garden for the first time since he played. He has the rings, he knows the system he wants to run, he will have the respect and attention of the players, and it can keep Carmelo Anthony in New York. That should be your next move Phil, there is no other way.