Phil Jackson's arrogance has warranted end to Knicks presidency

We reached this point because of arrogance. Nothing else. We’re appealing for an end to this partnership because Jackson can’t reconcile with the idea that he’s not always the smartest guy in the room, that maybe he’s out of touch with today’s NBA culture, that his 11 rings as a coach don’t make him or his triangle infallible.

Jackson can’t humbly accept his status as a struggling executive. It’s why his unnecessary commentary creates chasms between himself and Carmelo Anthony. It’s why he asks if any of his critics have 11 rings. It’s why he should exercise his opt-out clause after this season and spare everybody another two years of ego-driven distractions.

Armed with a 61-125 record in his current job — the only one that matters in New York — Jackson flippantly insulted LeBron James at the height of his powers. The result was predictable: a whitewash, a hit on Jackson’s character that was supported by Kevin Durant and even Carmelo. Just three days ago, Erik Spoelstra accused Jackson of making stuff up out of boredom. It was embraced by a few chuckles in the Miami press room, and an acceptance that Spoelstra may be on to something.

“I honestly just think he gets bored and likes to throw stuff out there,” the Heat coach said.

Phil Jackson: Knicks star Carmelo Anthony holds ball too long

Today Jackson is the Zen Piñata, the Triangle Relic who managed to piss off the most powerful player in the NBA. His staunchest public supporter — the only one willing to join forces against LeBron — is his former assistant coach from the Albany Patroons, Charley Rosen. It’s the opposite of what you want from the man charged with enticing and signing players to the Knicks.

So how does Jackson respond? Again, he does an interview outside of the direction of the Knicks, issues a non-apology, and points to Anthony’s flaw for holding the ball too long.

This is great stuff for a TV analyst, or a memoir author in retirement. Not for a team executive to openly complain about his star employee.

At 71 years old, Jackson’s understanding of his job is muddied by success in a different time, and in a different role. His comments and Twitter musings aren’t motivating anybody to be better. The book he distributed to Knicks players on meditation went largely unread. He’s not throwing off LeBron by calling him high maintenance, or curtailing Steph Curry by comparing him to Mahmoud Abdul-Raof. Mind games work a lot better with Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant on your side.

Carmelo Anthony has ‘nothing to say’ about Phil Jackson drama

It’s time to face reality: for the good of the franchise and himself, this should be the last few months of his Knicks tenure. We’re not suggesting James Dolan fire the team president and eat the remainder of the $60 million deal, but that Jackson take the more dignified exit and utilize the opt-out clause he worked into his contract.

There’s no need to continue down this path, regardless of where the team ends up in the standings. Jackson has taken enough of Jim Dolan’s money, and Anthony is too nice of a guy to be storming out of interviews, as he almost did Wednesday.

He’s more of a subtle tweeter.

“EGO is the only requirement to destroy any relationship. So, be a BiGGER person, skip the “E” and let it “GO,” Anthony sent after landing on the West Coast.

Phil Jackson criticizing LeBron, Melo is not helping Knicks

Very appropriate. But the player shouldn’t have to be the bigger person.

Jeff Hornacek and Carmelo Anthony.

Jeff Hornacek and Carmelo Anthony.

(Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports)

Jackson placed the Knicks in capable hands by hiring Jeff Hornacek, who has created a team and a fast-paced offense to his personality. The fear that Hornacek would coach as indebted to Jackson — or as more of a puppet like Derek Fisher — has proven false.

The triangle may not be dead, but it’s greatly diminished. And Hornacek has more power because Jackson can’t go through another coach, not while Dolan is still paying Fisher.

To Jackson’s credit, he made some nice moves to build a bench and resisted any temptation to deal away draft picks. The Joakim Noah contract is already shaping up to be a longterm mistake, but the Derrick Rose trade was worth the gamble and there will always be Kristaps Porzingis to pad the resume.

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If only Jackson could get over himself, we’d be praising his role in an encouraging 12-10 start instead of blasting his verbal upchucks and triangle intrusions.

But arrogance was always part of Jackson’s personality. It suited him better as a championship coach. And it will also work fine in retirement or as a Lakers consultant should Jackson face the reality that his work is done in New York.

Tags:
nba
new york knicks
phil jackson
lebron james
carmelo anthony

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