Phil Jackson deal with Knicks not close, per report

Stephen Dunn

Will Jackson be running the Knicks soon? ...maybe!

Phil Jackson's potential deal to join the New York Knicks front office might not be as likely to be completed as previously thought. There is "no assurance Jackson will come work for the Knicks," according to a column from Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, who added that people close to the legendary former coach do not think Jackson has made a decision:

In Wojnarowski's column, it is reported that New York owner James Dolan thinks Jackson can be a more powerful force on the free agent market than Miami Heat president Pat Riley, and that Dolan and Jackson would likely clash because of Dolan's no-talking-with-media policy.

There is also the matter of how much freedom Jackson would have to make decisions without Dolan's meddling, which has been an issue for every Knicks executive since the Isiah Thomas Era. Speaking of the Isiah Thomas era, there is this:

For Dolan, Thomas is still the executive with whom everyone else pales. Well beyond Thomas' firing in 2008, Dolan made multiple bids to convince underlings that Thomas needed to be rehired. In one episode described to Yahoo Sports, Dolan had become exasperated with team officials who didn't want a second Garden act for Thomas. With overwhelming evidence to the contrary being presented to Dolan, he finally blurted out: "Isiah is a basketball genius!"


Elsewhere on the Jackson-to-the-Knicks front: Dolan has taken control of the Jackson negotiations away from executive vice president and general manager Steve Mills, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. The result could be Mills losing his job mere months after taking over from Glen Grunwald.

"Everyone around here is on pins and needles," said one Knicks official. "No one knows what is going on."


Mills, who is restricted from speaking to the media, was dispatched to offer Jackson the chance to hold the same title Jackson's mentor, Red Holzman, once held. Jackson declined and that's when things took a turn for the worse - for Mills, that is.

"The meeting was a disaster," said a person close to Mills. "Phil doesn't want to work with Mills. It is a mess."

According to Isola, Mills tried to make a coaching change before Dolan went behind his back and recruited Jackson to take Mills' job. Dolan is reportedly offering Jackson $12 million per season. If Jackson does end up in New York, names to keep an eye on when it comes to coaching include Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis and Steve Kerr.

With all the different threads in this still-developing story and how quickly it has gone from "Jackson interested" to "Jackson likely to join Knicks" to "Jackson not close," it's all a little confusing. Fortunately, New York guard J.R. Smith isn't getting letting the details of who might be taking control of his team distract him:

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