Of Steve Mills’ (presumably successful) attempts to replace himself with Phil Jackson, Posting & Toasting’s Seth Rosenthal opines the Knicks, “will not be filling a job opening, they will be creating a job opening with which to subsume Phil Jackson, who does not necessarily fit the job opening created just for him.” Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is even more convinced the pairing is doomed, warning, “the Knicks’ culture and values belong to James Dolan, and there are no executives – no forces of nature – that will change it.”
Far less accomplished people have been hired to run franchises, thus there’s no arguing Jackson isn’t worthy of an opportunity. Nevertheless, there are significant doubts about Jackson’s ability to translate his coaching genius to front-office organization and tenacity. Respected officials doubt his desire to spend the necessary time evaluating talent, constructing a staff beyond those indebted cronies forever at his NBA side. They wonder about his commitment to investing time into the small, mundane assignments that are necessary to turning a loser into a contender. How much time will Jackson even spend in New York?
The Knicks are low on draft picks and assets, long on bad contracts and bad knees. For even the most elite of front-office executives, this is a challenging job – never mind a 68-year-old who’ll find little of the adulation of championship-level coaching, and far more the criticism and second-guessing that comes with a rebuild.
Dolan believes Jackson’s star power can trump Pat Riley’s on the free-agent market, but make no mistake: Before a general manager can chase free-agents star, there needs to be an infrastructure of good, young and inexpensive talent born of savvy scouting and creativity deal-making. Jackson can’t snap his fingers and expedite talent to his roster.