The New York Knicks parted ways with Phil Jackson as president of basketball operations on Wednesday. The decision comes after he posted an 80-166 record as an executive, failing to smoothly transition from one of the best head coaches of all time to the front office.
Jackson played with fire when he told reporters beloved Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony was better off somewhere else. He then burned himself by fielding trade calls on Kristaps Porzingis after the second-year star missed his end-of-the-season exit interview.
Had Anthony not held a no-trade clause, Jackson would have dealt him at first chance at the trade deadline. And had he found the sizable return he was looking for, The Zen Master would have moved on from Porzinigis as well.
In wake of these two deals that never happened, we revisit every transaction Phil Jackson made as Knicks president. Fair warning, it gets ugly:
Signings: Shannon Brown (waived), Lamar Odom (waived), Jason Smith, Ricky Ledo (waived), Langston Galloway
- Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, and two second-round picks (Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo)
- Wayne Ellington and Jeremy Tyler to Sacramento for Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw
- Travis Outlaw, 2019 second-round pick and swap rights on 2018 second-rounder to Philadelphia for Arnett Moultrie
- Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to Cleveland for Lance Thomas (via OKC), Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk and Cavs’ 2019 second-round pick
- Pablo Prigioni to Houston for Alexey Shved, 2017 second-round pick (Ognjen Jaramaz) and 2019 second-round pick
Drafted: Cleanthony Early (No. 34) and Thanasis Antetokounmpo (No. 51)
Signings: Derrick Williams (two years, $10 million), Arron Afflalo (two years, $16 million), Robin Lopez (four years, $54 million), Kevin Seraphin, Tony Wroten (never played), Jimmer Fredette (10-day contract)
- Tim Hardaway Jr. to Atlanta for No. 19 pick in 2015 (Jerian Grant)
- 2020 and 2021 second-round picks to Philadelphia for Willy Hernangomez
- Swap rights on 2019 second-round pick to Orlando for Kyle O’Quinn
Drafted: Kristaps Porzingis (No. 4)
Signings: Joakim Noah (four years, $72 million), Courtney Lee (four years, $48 million), Lance Thomas (four years, $27 million), Brandon Jennings (one year, $5 million — waived midseason), Sasha Vujacic, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Marshall Plumlee, Maurice Ndour, Ron Baker, Chasson Randle (midseason)
Trade: Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez to Chicago for Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday
- Drafted: Frank Ntilikina No. 8 in 2017, Damyean Dotson, No. 44 and Ognjen Jaramaz No. 58
In summation, Jackson bulldozed the Knicks’ roster, built it from scratch, and bulldozed it again.
He traded Shumpert and Smith to the Cavaliers for Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, and Alex Kirk. Thomas is the only player still on the team from that trade. He traded Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Hawks for Jerian Grant, who he traded for Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday — both of whom become free agents this summer. He gave Joakim Noah $72 million after playing only 29 games in 2016. Noah played poorly and sparingly in his first season with the Knicks.
And he signed Sasha Vujacic.
Of these, a few standout as successes.
First, of course, Jackson drafted Porzingis fourth overall in 2015. He’s become a basketball unicorn and a glimmer of hope for the Knicks’ future.
Second, shipping two second-round picks to Philly for Willy Hernangomez was smart. Hernangomez was named to the All-Rookie First Team after averaging eight points and seven rebounds per game. He nearly averaged a double-double in games where he played 20 minutes or more.
Next, he got Kyle O’Quinn out of Orlando for a second-round pick. O’Quinn, a Queens, N.Y. native, has become a fan favorite in New York and has played well in stretches.
Lastly, the trade for Derrick Rose made sense at the time. Rose rebounded from injury to average 18 points and 4.4 assists, but he didn’t quite fit with the Triangle Offense Jackson employed midseason.
Then he went missing for a game, battled nagging back injuries, and slightly tore his meniscus to end the season. Let’s call it a draw to be nice.
But the cons outweighed the pros by a wide margin
Earlier Wednesday, I asked Twitter this question:
Which of Phil Jackson's trades/signings did you hate most?— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) June 28, 2017
Most of you responded in a heartbeat: Joakim Noah’s $72 million deal
There's only one answer to this and that's the Joakim Signing https://t.co/jgsHzi2KId— BBB Kevn (@Wheres_Kevo) June 28, 2017
The Noah deal is the runaway worst thing and then everything else, besides fall ass backwards into KP and Willy, is coming up the rear https://t.co/AcaU7UDa5r— Owen Hans (@hambino01) June 28, 2017
That time he gave $72M to that really uncoordinated center https://t.co/tvbZj4K2tz— JF (@Jferrie23) June 28, 2017
A lot of you really hated the Smith-Shumpert trade:
Getting nothing for JR n Shump https://t.co/ysgTTFIfRQ— Real Chris Lebron (@KingLebron89) June 28, 2017
Ima go with the JR and Shumpert for Admunson and Alex Kirk lmao ...followed by Chandler and Felton for Calderon and a second round pick https://t.co/AV73rSS0pu— Zilla (@rodzilla2xx) June 28, 2017
trading chandler, jr smith ,shump, for a bunch of scrubs like calderon,dalembert,amundson— Vince Pomento (@vincepoments) June 28, 2017
And sasha still there??
JR/Shump trade. Not so much that he traded them but the fact he got nothing bad— hahahahaha knicks (@kristin__f__34) June 28, 2017
Some of you really liked Tim Hardaway Jr.:
Hardaway jr— Pat (@_SwaggyyPatron_) June 28, 2017
Some of you didn’t like Melo’s no-trade clause, either:
Either the NTC or Noah— Nick Guarino (@nick_guarino3) June 28, 2017
Giving melo a no trade clause— Ntilikina SZN (@Porzingoat6) June 28, 2017
Melo's no-trade or Noah's contract— Conor Duffy (@CDuff3346) June 28, 2017
This guy thought the Knicks got less than nothing in return for Tyson Chandler:
Chandler for a bag of shit— ab_jilla (@kickzjilla) June 28, 2017
Tyson Chandler for the worst defensive PG in the league— PHIL GONE (@T_Brien98) June 28, 2017
And this guy nails it on the head:
Yo the fact that we can list so many is crazy— Lowkey-los (@king_cad5) June 28, 2017
The Knicks have moved on from Jackson, though it’s unclear who will replace him at the helm. Hopefully for Knicks fans, whoever’s next has some track record as an executive.