Phil Jackson and Steve Mills with Scott Cacciola of The New York Times earlier this week and chatted on a variety of subjects, including Melo, the Triangle and his infamous "goink" Tweet. Did he clear everything up? Eh...not really.
Let's delve into this, shall we? Here are my takeaways from the interview. Be warned: these answers get a little weird.
1. Phil is still hella triangular.
We saw head coach Derek Fisher slowly but surely moving away from the pure Triangle offense over the second half of the season, and many of Phil's own statements during the spring seemed to indicate that the Knicks were more far concerned with concerned with building a good defense than in perfecting the Triangle.
Well, we can still hope the Knicks are concerned with the defense, but in this interview at least, Phil was back to spouting the gospel of Tex Winter:
Players who are resistant to it shouldn’t be here. Guys who want to play basketball and feel comfortable with their skills should understand that there is ample opportunity to play a game that’s an evolved game. It’s a thinking man’s game.
This apparently applies to their draft priorities as well:
"I have a definite idea about how I want a team to look and what kind of skills the players need to have," said Jackson, who remains as wedded to the triangle offense as ever. "When everybody else says, ‘Well, this might be their best pick,’ we’re not going that way at all. We’re going with what we feel will be the best player for us at this particular time."
Hey Phil, when everybody likes a player for your team and you don't, maybe it's you who are wrong. I gotta say, this comment gave me the heebie-jeebies.
2. Phil wants big men
When asked about roster upgrades, Jackson immediately pointed to the lack of bigs. Steve Mills added that, although there are clearly holes in the roster, every single player from last year's club at least expressed an interest in coming back.
No shit, Sherlock. Most of those players might not make another NBA team.
3. Melo made the decision to play in the All-Star Game
Phil emphasized that he wanted to find players who aren't just "interested in the money and in their branding." It was an odd choice of words, considering that that was pretty much exactly what Carmelo Anthony was doing when he chose to put off knee surgery to play in the All-Star Game. Per Phil:
I don’t see any value at all in an All-Star Game. None. I think it was a pretty exciting game this year because of its speed. But as a coach, what’s the point? But when guys have, as part of their contract, shoe things when they make the All-Star team, we try to accommodate what will help them move forward with their lives and their careers. So when we sat down with Carmelo in London and we had dinner with him, we actually pointed to that date as a possible time for him to shut it down. If he was going to have the full ability to have an operation, go through rehab and training, and get ready for next season, that was an appropriate time because it gave him March, April, May, June, July, etc., and he was going to need at least six months. So we actually did plan that date.
Mills went on to echo the old "the injury wasn't going to get worse" company line. At least Melo's rehab appears to be going "swimmingly," according to Jackson.
4. Phil seriously thinks he should have received votes for Executive of the Year
I knew it was going to be a challenge. We just didn’t have any room to work last year. We knew that we were going to have to make big changes with the limitations that we had, being in a locked-in situation as far as the salary cap goes. That’s why when I said recently that I didn’t know why I wasn’t given some votes for executive of the year, I wasn’t kidding. I was really serious. We had a yeoman’s job of having to get rid of a lot of fat on our roster to get to where we are. I saw Mitch Kupchak got a vote, so I know some people valued what the Lakers were doing obviously.
I have defended, and will continue to defend -- most of the moves Phil made last year. But dude needs to calm the hell down.
5. Phil looks up sex terms on Urban Dictionary???
Q. So it wasn’t just a typo?
JACKSON: "Goink" is a castoff expression, right? Instead of, "How’s it going?," it’s, "How’s it goink?" It turned out to be either a combination of a mixed ethnic group: part Korean, part Chinese. Or it’s a vernacular term for how do you deal with a sexual partner.
Q. That was not your intention though?
JACKSON: No, I had no idea.
You had no idea? Not sure I can believe you, Phil.
Anyhoo, this interview was weird as hell and it left me scared, confused and maybe a little aroused. What did y'all think?