Is Phil Jackson strengthening his MSG power base?
The 2014-15 season hasn't quite drawn to a close yet, but the organization has already dropped Allan Houston man Kevin Whitted as coach of the Westchester Knicks and installed a former Phil assistant, Craig Hodges, as the head man in White Plains. And more layoffs could be in the works, per Ian Begley:
However, privately, members of the Knicks' front office have been expecting team president Phil Jackson to make changes for a while now. League sources with knowledge of the situation said earlier this week that some members are just "waiting for the other shoe to drop" when it comes to the possibility of Jackson reshaping the organization's management team.
While the prospect of losing front office stalwarts like Allan Houston, Mark Warkentien and Steve Mills elicits reactions ranging from "OK" to "niiiiiiiice," the timing of all this is intriguing, particularly coming the the heels of this cryptic Zen Master tweet:
We will rebuild a team that fits together-guys that want to compete and play the way bball gods approve.#groundup— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) March 30, 2015
Groundup, folks, groundup. I'm pretty sick of the "basketball gods" nonsense at this point, to be honest. I'm worried about the efficacy of the Triangle offense, as well as Phil's seeming refusal to look outside of his circle of confidants.
All that being said, sign me up for more purging. I'm not certain Phil will choose a great GM, but I am certain a new GM is needed. He said he would take time to evaluate the organization when he took the job, and he kept his word. He also dumped all of the players from the previous regime except for Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway in exchange for Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Cleanthony Early, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and three future second-rounders. The Knicks will almost certainly pick in the top four in the upcoming draft, and Phil very well might get rid of the holdovers in the front office this summer.
That, my friends, would be thorough. The old Knicks were never going to die easily. They were a bloated, reeking zombie corpse of an organization. The end was always going to be bloody, nauseating even. Maybe Phil's method hasn't been clean. Maybe he could have held onto Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert for some trade deadline haul. But this franchise needed to be destroyed, and they needed a president with the power to cut that cord.
But the purging is only a start. Fire whomever you want, but make sure you replace the old guard with a keen basketball mind or two for the front office. Preferably someone who didn't work with you on the Albany Patroons. You originally wanted Steve Kerr to coach your team, and he turned out to be pretty good at the whole coaching thing. The jury is still out on Derek Fisher, but you had the right idea -- find a smart, young man with a connection to today's game. You've torn it down, now find some people to build it up.