clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Like it or not, Phil Jackson isn't going anywhere anytime soon

New, comments

The Zen Master has no opt-out in his contract for 2016.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks president Phil Jackson has had a busy week, firing Derek Fisher, holding press conferencespenning online basketball manifestos. The chaos created in the Zen Master's wake has given rise to all sorts of conjecture, perhaps none more prominent than the rumor that Phil is planning to rejoin the Lakers this summer.

The truth is that Phil's not going anywhere in 2016 -- he couldn't go even if he wanted to, and there is no evidence that he does. Per Marc Berman:

There has been speculation since last June that Jackson's contract opt-out is for this summer. But the Knicks team president has no opt-out this summer, as has been reported. He doesn't have one until after next season, though the Knicks believe he may finish the five-year contract.

If Jackson tried to break his contract this summer, owner James Dolan would have to give him permission to rejoin his fiancée, Jeanie Buss, to help her run the Lakers, and Dolan would not.

Not to be trite, but ... duh. Phil has put in the work of building half a pretty good roster, and isn't the type of guy to be satisfied with only half of his vision. Also, there's this:

Unless the Lakers luck out in the draft lottery, they don't have future nearly as bright as the Knicks. Kristaps Porzingis is a better prospect than D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. combined. And that isn't even hyperbole -- no GM would trade Kristaps for any combination of Lakers prospects. Phil won't abandon his rebuild; he won't abandon Kristaps ... at least not for another year. And even if he wanted to -- which he probably doesn't -- James Dolan is way too spiteful to let him just walk away while still under contract.

Now the only question remaining is whether Knicks fans still want Phil. Adrian Wojnarowski casually dropped the names of Steve Mills and Isiah Thomas as potential Phil successors/replacements, so we've got that to look forward to. Personally, I have way more confidence in Phil coming to his senses regarding the Triangle than I do in Dolan choosing a non-embarrassing GM. It's not the greatest situation, but we Knicks fans have certainly seen worse.