Two years ago, the New York Knicks decided to name Phil Jackson the team president to help turn this team around. Not much has gone right since then and the Knicks are falling into a bad place.
How Did This Start?
This all started with Phil Jackson publicly criticizing the franchise player, Carmelo Anthony, through the media earlier this season. He followed this by proposing trade offers for Anthony with multiple teams throughout the league. The attempts to trade Anthony have failed drastically so far, which drove Anthony’s value even further down the tube. Jackson followed by continuing to belittling Anthony’s playing style through the media and Twitter. This rubbed everybody involved with the Knicks the wrong way because Carmelo is beloved in the organization and has been since joining the team seven years ago. When New York hired Phil two years ago, he promised he would turn this team around, and that would include Carmelo Anthony. His promises are becoming unfulfilled.
How has the New York fan base reacted?
The fans are disgusted with everything involved with the Knicks right now. At times during games, you can hear “Trade him” chants towards Carmelo in Madison Square Garden when he is in the middle of his isolation possessions. The Iso-Melo gameplan is what Phil publicly criticized Anthony for, and he actually has a point. However, Phil has handled it poorly. So on the other hand, there are fans that blame Phil for the disaster in New York. They see him as the cancer that brought down Carmelo and the team over the last two years. Also, Phil’s free agency pitch for the future won’t look great after his Carmelo relationship. Knicks fans are worried and feel like a big change is in order. Most likely involving Carmelo and/or Phil Jackson leaving the team.
The epitome of the ultimate frustrated Knicks fan is former Knicks all-star, Charles Oakley. He played a key role with the Knicks in the 90’s when the team was a bonafide contender. This is also the last time the Knicks were contenders, so his presence brings back good memories to the arena. Since Oakley’s time with the Knicks, the team has been the laughing stock of the league. When Carmelo Anthony came to the team, optimism all of a sudden appeared in New York as the team became a top team in the Eastern Conference. Oakley wanted to be a part of the organization at that time as either an executive or a coach. Knicks owner, James Dolan, denied him multiple times and that created tension between him and Oakley. Then Dolan hires Phil, and the Carmelo situation occurs. This had to drastically upset Oakley, and he showed his frustration in the Knicks game on Wednesday. Oakley decided to sit courtside and say the magic words to have the entire Madison Square Garden security team escort him out. The vulgar language was pointed directly at Dolan by Oakley, and the Knicks fans are adamantly on Oakley’s side. This is nothing but a cry for help by a passionate fan that has seen his team become a catastrophe for twenty years.
What should the Knicks do from here?
The organization has to see that this situation is going nowhere. Phil Jackson has no experience as a GM or front office executive and is now burning bridges all around the league and in his own locker room. Carmelo Anthony is an aging star who struggles playing within a team and is just not capable of being the star player for a championship team anymore. New York has to trade Carmelo while he still holds good value, he’s still averaging 23.0 ppg with 6.1 rpg, so they can get a good return for him while they rebuild. The team should plan to build around their new star Kristaps Porizingis, which was Phil Jackson’s draft pick. The New York Knicks can let Phil continue his plan, but he should be on a short leash. His reputation around the league is that he is not loyal to his stars or his city, but there is room for that to change for him. He should declare the Knicks to be in rebuild mode and allow the team more time to become contenders again. As of right now, they are nowhere close.
What can we expect the Knicks to do next?
When you have a team that has been going nowhere for a couple of years, most teams decide that it just isn’t working and it’s time to start over with young unknown players. The New York Knicks, however, don’t work that way. James Dolan did not hire Phil Jackson to have bad season after bad season with hopes of a good team in the future. Dolan wants a quick fix now as well as big names to fill the seats of his stadium. This is how the Knicks have done business, such as trading for has-been stars like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah last offseason. Also, the Knicks feel as if they are a primetime destination for free agents. However, the team has not made a big splash in free agency since signing Tyson Chandler in 2011. They build with their wallet instead of drafting rookies and developing them. They went out of their comfort zone and did this with Kristaps Porzingis, or what they thought they were getting in the Latvian big man. The story was Porzingis will be a good player, but in three years, when he was drafted. That’s why the Knick fans hated the pick at first and bashed Phil in his first NBA draft. Porzingis turned out to be excellent right away which should be a sign to what the Knicks should do and build in the draft. Instead, they will continue to bring in big names that are past their prime and let their egos control the destiny of their team. If they continue doing what they have done, this team will continue going nowhere. The NBA trade deadline is next week, so just wait, another bomb will be dropped soon for the Knicks.