The New York Knicks have been a train wreck so far in the 2013-2014 NBA season. The Knickerbockers flopped to begin the year, opening 6-16 and falling to 21-40 last week. They botched the trade deadline by failing to unload Iman Shumpert after openly shopping him. They have treated head coach Mike Woodson like the guy at a company that everyone around the organization knows is underperforming, and the manager just hasn’t gotten around to firing yet. That was last week. Despite their struggles, the Knicks are currently on a 5-game win streak after dismantling the Boston Celtics last night (116-92) Things are looking even more positively this week after the long anticipated return of the Zen Master seems to be imminent. Multiple reports have come out this week that the New York Knicks have unofficially hired ex-player and ex-head coach Phil Jackson as their next President of Basketball Operations.
This move, if it becomes official, is a bigger splash than every other headline the Knicks have had this season, likely even bigger than Carmelo Anthony’s upcoming free agency. If Phil Jackson does in fact officially become the next Knicks front office front man, it begs the question: what exactly is Phil Jackson getting himself into?
Over the last two years, the New York Knicks have made questionable roster moves. For the 2012-2013 season, they acquired Jason Kidd, Rasheed “Ball-Don’t-Lie” Wallace, and Ronnie Brewer. For this season, the Knicks signed Metta World Peace, drafted Tim Hardaway Jr., and traded for Andrea Bargnani. These moves, apart from Hardaway Jr., shout short-term fixes that create long-term issues, especially, the acquisition of Bargnani. The Knicks seriously traded a 2016 First-round pick for a player with a PER of 14.51, which is a full point below Ramon Sessions, just to give a reference point. Suffice it to say, the Knicks’ moves over the last couple of years have been “iffy” at best.
What does this mean for Phil Jackson moving forward? Problems are happening in the near future. The Knicks owe a lot of money to marginal players through next season. They owe Amare Stoudemire 23.4M, Tyson Chandler 14.6M, Andrea Bargnani 12M, J.R. Smith 6M, and Raymond Felton 4.4M through the end of next season. Carmelo Anthony has a player option for next season, and if he picks that up, add another 23.5M to the bill. A lot of salary cap is taken up and Phil Jackson hasn’t even taken the job yet. The Knicks have invested millions of dollars into players that just haven’t gotten it done this season. Maybe next year will be different with Phil Jackson at the helm. I just hope he looked closely at what he’s getting himself into.