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Phil Jackson is not the right man to lead Knicks revival

Should Dolan consider firing Jackson?

Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek (Getty Images)

Phil Jackson and Jeff Hornacek (Getty Images)


New York Knicks owner James Dolan pays Phil Jackson $12 million a year to turn the organization around. Talk about being ripped off. He hasn’t received much from his investment.

Dolan has every right to be incensed. He has to be. He has done all he could to turn the beleaguered franchise around, and it is still not working. He can only have so much patience unless it’s Isiah Thomas running the Knicks.

Jackson’s Knicks tenure has been a disappointment, and it’s hard to think it will get better, so firing him is the way to go. It makes business sense and basketball sense.

The Knicks have yet to have a winning season and a playoff appearance under the Zen Master. They have been 54-122 under his guidance as an executive. Instead, the Knicks have been in the headlines for the wrong reasons whether it’s bad basketball or Jackson saying stupid things to the media at the wrong time.  The Knicks are no better with him than they were under Thomas. It’s the same thing.

Jackson’s bright spot has been drafting Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. He took a chance on him when scouts were high on his potential. Give him credit for doing that rather than trading the pick for an established player or drafting Justise Winslow or Emmanuel Mudiay.

But for every Porzingis pick Jackson’s boosters raise, I offer Cleanthony Early, Jerian Grant and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.  Grant and Antetokounmpo never panned out, and Early is playing in the NBADL out in Westchester.

Drafting 2nd rounders and finding late bloomers are important for a franchise. It’s the only way this team can get even better. Jackson has showed he does not have a clue on drafting or finding good college players.

He hasn’t been a good team builder.  His trades have been awful, from Jose Calderon to Lance Thomas to Lou Amundson to Shane Larkin to Wayne Ellington to Samuel Dalembert. Derrick Rose has been inept at point guard.

His free agent signings have made zero impact. Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams turned out to be busts for the Knicks. Sasha Vujacic and Kyle O’Quinn are still Knicks, and they are useless. Joakim Noah has already been benched, and he hasn’t made any impact offensively.

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Dolan did not pay Jackson to settle with low-impact free agents. He was hired to get a player like Kevin Durant or another star in the NBA. He couldn’t even get Greg Monroe, who signed with the Bucks as a free agent last year.

Not only was Jackson unable to sign a valuable free agent, he couldn’t even get a conversation with them. For crying out loud, Thomas was able to get Kobe Bryant to talk to him about signing with the Knicks, even though it was never happening.

If Jackson can’t get the best players or have them talk to the Knicks, what value does he have as team president?

Part of being a team president is to mingle with agents and networking with players through intermediaries. Jackson has not made the effort to either of that here. This is an example of him not doing his job.

Jackson’s problem is he does not want to do the dirty work of networking and dealing with agents. All he wants to do is teach that overrated triangle offense.

That’s another problem with Jackson. He insists on his players to play that antiquated offense when they are not capable enough to run it. Today’s players are about pick-and-roll. That’s where Carmelo Anthony and Rose would shine. The NBA is about putting players in a position to succeed, not force-feeding them to run an offense they can’t run. It’s about utilizing a player’s strength.

One would think Jackson would get it being that he played and coached in the NBA. It seems like running the triangle offense is his end game as the Knicks president. His purpose of being the Knicks president is to promote the triangle offense. This is for all the wrong reasons.

It’s easy to run a triangle offense with players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Those four join a long list of the best players in the world. The Knicks have no one close to that level, so it’s pointless to run it.

Then, there’s his hiring of coaches. His first two choices flamed out in Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis.

Fisher was not qualified to coach in the NBA when he never coached a day in his life. His coaching potential should not be the reason he should be hired as a coach for big-market team. He clearly had so much to learn when it comes to handling losing and dealing with players. New York is not the place to learn on the job.

Rambis was a joke in his brief coaching stint with the Lakers, and he was terrible with the Timberwolves. It’s remarkable Jackson wanted to hire him to be the coach this season when he flopped as the interim head coach this past season. Obviously, Rambis was going to be Jackson’s puppet in terms of coaching and what to do. That’s not a reason to hire him. Thankfully, Dolan told the Knicks president not to hire his preferred coach.

Jeff Hornacek could be a good head coach for the Knicks. The jury is out. One thing going for him is his players respect him and they play for him. Coaching Anthony is not easy, but for some reason, he has been receptive to Hornacek.

Overall, it hasn’t been good. The culture hasn’t changed. The Knicks still don’t play defense. Jackson is guessing by picking any players at random to mesh. There is still paranoia and distrust at the Garden. The Knicks president has not been accessible with the local media.

Nothing has changed. This is even worse than what Thomas has done. At least, the former Knicks President of Basketball Operations built an exciting team that stunk. What potential does Jackson’s Knicks have?

The Knicks are on the road to nowhere.

Enough time has passed for a divorce between Jackson and the Knicks.

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