*This article is Part 2 of the site’s “Why Phil Jackson Is The Worst GM In NBA History” series. Read Part 1 here.
A miracle happened in New York City this past Tuesday. The New York Knicks decided to part ways with GM Phil Jackson after three years of running an endless train wreck. So now that the Phil Jackson era is over in New York, let’s reflect on the major issues that evidently caused this franchise-altering move to take place.
Jackson Displayed A Lack Of Care For The Job
Phil Jackson is celebrated for his accomplishments as an 11-time champion: winning nine NBA champions as a head coach for the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, and winning two as a player for New York. However as a GM, Jackson proved to be unfit for the position. Back in May of 2015, Jackson was in Chicago for the NBA Pre-Draft combine, where team executives go to see who they want to draft. Jackson never showed up to these draft combines even though he was currently in Chicago at the time. This partly may have been the reason that the Knicks were unable to get a top 3 draft pick.
His Feelings Toward Kristaps Porzingis Was Unethical
Now I do admit, I thought the Knicks made a bad pick at No. 4 in the 2015 draft to take Porzingis, but thankfully I was wrong, and he has shown a lot of potential in his first two years. In August, Jackson talked about how his core may not be getting stronger, and that Porzingis is going to be the next Shawn Bradley. If you don’t know who Shawn Bradley is, let me provide you with some insight on his career.
Bradley was a 7-foot-6, 235 pound center who only averaged 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game throughout his Knicks career. Quite simply, that was bad shot at Porzingis, including Knicks fans who respected his game. After a solid sophomore campaign, Porzingis was so upset at Jackson’s decision making that he skipped the exit meeting after the season. This enraged Jackson so he sent his 21-year star on the trading block.
*Memo to Jackson, you never place your franchise corner-stone player on the trade market while his value isn’t even at his peak just because he skipped an exit meeting.
That was such a weak move by Jackson’s part, but thankfully he wasn’t traded. With that said, Porzingis should be relieved that Jackson is no longer employed by New York.
Jackson Created Ridiculously Bad Contracts
Back in 2014, when he first got the job, Jackson’s first big contract he handed out was to Carmelo Anthony for five years, $124 million dollars. Jackson then gave injury-riddled center Joakim Noah and lifetime role player Courtney Lee each four-year contracts worth up to $28 million respectively. On top of that, the first season that Noah played for the Knicks he averaged 5.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game, also getting suspended for 20 games without pay for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy.
Jackson Spoke Out The Wrong Way
I did bring up Jackson’s comments towards Anthony in Part 1 of this segment, even his comments regarding Porzingis. However, he has made several other asinine comments about things other than the Knicks. Back in 2015, a month after the draft, Jackson disrespected legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, even taking shots at the Duke basketball program, saying remarks like Duke players never live up to the expectations and come into the NBA soft.
More so, after the Warriors/Thunder game in late February of 2016, Jackson compared the reigning MVP Steph Curry to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who is formerly known as Chris Jackson. Abdul-Rauf only averaged 14.6 points and 3.5 assists per game, and you compare him to a guy who averaged 30 points and made 400 threes in one season? That is outrageous.
And just this year, Jackson made comments that outraged one of the sport’s greatest, LeBron James – referencing James’ friends as posses during an interview with ESPN.
“You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland”.
– quote from Jackson regarding LeBron James
After those comments were made James told reporters that he had lost all his respect for Phil Jackson. When the best player in the world has zero respect for you, you must of really messed up.
Many Knicks fans, especially Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman were very pleased over the recent firing of Phil Jackson. The Knicks were a laughing stock for many years under his watch and Jackson showed no initiative whatsoever to dig New York out the hole that they were already meters deep in. I hope the Knicks can be relevant again to make basketball more entertaining like it was back in the 1990’s when they were great. Hopefully they can hire the right guy for the job and turn one of the most storied franchises in the NBA around.