In the Spring of 2014, The Knicks knew they needed a change. Early playoff exits and struggling lottery teams were just not enough for a franchise who wanted desperately to “win now”. The Knicks, looking for quick answers, did what any team would do. They hired a star.
That star was 11-time champion Phil Jackson, who coached some of the greatest players in NBA history. His legacy as one of the greatest coaches ever was exactly why the Knicks brought him on board. They needed a mind in the front office who knew how to win and knew what it would take to get there.
Almost 3 years later, the Knicks are a complete disaster. Rather than steering the team in a winning direction, Phil Jackson started a fire that is burning the entire organization to the ground.
It all started with the trade. The trade involved sending J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers. What did the Knicks get in return? Lane Thomas, Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson, and a 2019 second round pick. In other words, the Knicks got nothing. Both J.R. and Shumpert proved they can be valuable, as we’ve seen with the Cavs this year. So how come Phil gave them away for virtually nothing? Why trade them at all, if all you get in return is more room in the salary cap? The Knicks basically traded away two very useful shooting guards for a bag of Cheetos.
But Phil just does not seem to care. In free agency, when NBA executives try their hardest to lure in the best players, Phil just sits, waiting for players to come to him. He just isn’t trying hard enough. He seemed content with signing Joakim Noah to a 72 million dollar contract, while Kevin Durant was busy signing with the Warriors and Dwight Howard was signing with the Hawks. No star free agent even wants to TALK with him, yet he still does not seem to care.
He doesn’t seem to care what the Knicks fans want, he doesn’t seem to care what the players are saying, and he doesn’t seem to care what the media is spreading. He wants to win his way, and he only wants players and coaches who are willing to do the same.
Rather than finding a coach who truly fit the Knicks’ roster, Phil hired Derek Fisher, and then Jeff Hornacek. Why? Because they were willing to do it his way. Phil didn't want a coach who wouldn't run the triangle, he needed someone he could control, even if it meant the team would suffer.
And now, it's Carmelo’s turn to stand in Phil’s crossfire. Forget that he’s the Knicks’ best player. Forget that he’s shown nothing but loyalty for the organization, no matter how many games they lost. Because he’s no longer playing by Phil Jackson’s rules, he’s got to go. Instead of doing this the right way, Phil is pushing Melo out by trying to destroy his value. He’s wrongfully pointing the finger at Melo while tweeting and hinting that the Knicks would be better off without him.
To put it simply, this is a mess. A mess that Phil Jackson started. He’s traded the wrong pieces for virtually nothing, he’s gone after players in Free Agency he had no business going after, and his laid back attitude has pushed the Knicks so far down the path of destruction, that they can’t see the way out. So far, he just hasn’t done anything right.
This is the story of the Knickerbockers this season. They are a team of drama and inconsistency. He’s ruined the chemistry and trust of the team because he wants to do this his way. As much as people want to point the finger of blame towards Dolan or Melo, but it’s not on them. Phil, maybe it’s time to realize that you're just not good at running a team.