By Frank McLean
Phil Jackson has to be hoping that this week is better than last week. Heck it couldn’t get any worse and you have to wonder with Jackson’s invisible act, if maybe the clock is ticking on him staying on as the New York Knicks President of Basketball.
It started (sort of) when Derrick Rose went AWOL hours before the Knicks were to play the New Orleans Pelicans. The players did not know where Rose was. Coach Jeff Hornacek did not know where he was and neither did the team’s PR staff. Afterward it was learnt he had went home to Chicago to attend a family issue regarding his mother.
There was not a peep from Jackson and you had to feel sorry for Hornacek as he had to address the media as to what happened. He had no answers.
Oh and let’s not forget that the Knicks, supposed to be a playoff team, have just kept losing. Counting the one point loss to Atlanta the Knicks have only celebrated a victory thrice in their last 16-games and have slipped to 19-26 good for 11th-in the East and three games out of the last playoff spot.
The cream came in Toronto when the Knicks were taking a 17-point beatdown by the Raptors where at one point the deficit reached 34-points.
A so called 30-year friend of Jackson, a guy named Charley Rosen wrote a column for FanRagSports.com that Carmelo Anthony’s time in New York is numbered.
Rosen alleged Anthony’s “legs are going, going gone’’ and wrote. “The only sure thing is that Carmelo Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York. As ever, he’s still a dangerous scorer but resists any offensive game plan that limits his one-on-one adventures.”
Rosen on Monday wrote that he has never talked to Jackson and that his comments are his not Phil’s.
Anthony has a no trade clause in his contract so any trade can’t be made unless he agrees to it and to his credit he has not asked for trade. He’s 32 (until May) and his time to get a shot of winning a championship is running out.
“If that’s the case, if that’s where it’s coming from, that side, I guess it’s a conversation we should have,” Anthony said Sunday. “If they feel my time in New York is over, I guess that’s a conversation we should have.
“Listen, if that’s how they feel, if that’s coming from that side, then that’s what’s coming from that side. I haven’t thought once about that. I hear it, hear all the rhetoric going on out there. I still come to work every day, play and bust my ass and try not to worry about it. ”
Anthony isn’t pouting. The problem with the Knicks, all the dysfunction with this team, points to Jackson.
He is the boss and he has gone into hiding. Yes you see him and General Manager Steve Mills sitting in their seats during games in Madison Square Garden, but he has not spoken public about anything since December.
In that Jackson talked about how Anthony clogs up the flow of his sacred triangle offense.
He should have been the frontman when Rose went missing. He’s the boss, the top man, if one of your employees is missing you have to be the one answering questions. Instead he sends out Hornacek to answer questions. That’s not his responsibility.
The roster is a mess.
Yes they are missing second year center Kristap Porzingis with a sore Achilles periodically, but the Knicks don’t play defense. Joakim Noah all of a sudden can’t score and Rose is upset that the team can’t get it together.
You have to think Jackson’s time with the Knicks has to be coming to an end soon.
The roster is all on him, it’s not working and his insistence on the outdated triangle offense is not helping.
The problem is he really doesn’t know how to be a good manager. There is no communication with the players. Normally management and employees talk all the time because in every business, to be successful, everyone has to be on the same page.
Jackson should have been talking to Anthony on Sunday to say ‘hey I did not make those comments or yah I did I have a problem of the way you play and we need to talk.’
ESPN reported that sometime the two will meet. Sometime is not a day on a calendar.
If Jackson’s head is not in this job he needs to go and the Knicks need to find someone who is familiar with 21st century basketball on how to build a proper roster and run things in a professional manner. And not have your friends act as your unofficial PR guy letting the world know what you think about your team.
It looks like Phil Jackson has lost his employees trust and as a result his time in New York is running out. Perhaps the real question should be, what’s taking so long?
Veteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.
Featured image courtesy of Larry Millson