AP Source: Jackson to be introduced by Knicks
Phil Jackson won NBA titles as a player and a coach. He’ll now try winning as an executive.
And this quest will take him back to where his career began.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Knicks would only confirm that a “major announcement” involving team executives was scheduled.
Jackson also did not make any immediate public comment, but the move had been expected for several days — and was practically confirmed earlier this week by Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who said he had heard the Hall of Fame coach was “coming on board.”
Jackson had been courted by clubs before, and fans in Los Angeles clamored for him to return to coaching not long after he left the Lakers after the 2010-11 season.
He’s largely shunned limelight during this three-year break from work, during which he did things such as working on his health — arthritis pain hampered him toward the end of his coaching career — and released a book chronicling his basketball life.
Jackson played his first 10 NBA seasons with the Knicks — he was there for 11 actually, missing the 1969-70 championship season because of injury. Jackson was a key part of the 1972-73 team that won the NBA title, topping the Lakers.
New York hasn’t won a championship since. Jackson won 11 as a coach — six with the Chicago Bulls and five more with the Lakers.
Jackson’s arrival in New York will likely usher in a new era for the Knicks, who may miss the playoffs this season after winning 54 games a year ago. Even NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this week that he wanted to see Jackson back in the game, saying “the league needs him.”
Jackson will have a lot of issues to tackle immediately — New York could lose Anthony this summer through free agency and will likely look to upgrade their roster in several other areas.
With the Bulls, he had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. With the Lakers, he had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
With the Knicks, he’ll have more questions than answers, at least in the beginning of his first foray into life as an executive. There’s also the issue of how much power he’ll actually have working for Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan. Since the start of the 2004-05 season, the Knicks have gone through six head coaches and won a total of seven playoff games.
Starting Tuesday, it’ll apparently be Jackson’s job to change all that.
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.