Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Knicks Should Target Former Warroirs Coach Mark Jackson

There is a reason why Phil Jackson should not jump with both feet in so quickly into the pool for Steve Kerr. There are too many potential head coaches out there who could get fired or become available in the next few weeks as the playoffs continue.

One of those potential chips fell when Mark Jackson was fired by the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, after winning 51 games and taking the team to the playoffs for the second straight season.

Jackson's firing has more to do with his inability to get along with the front office, than with his players. The players loved playing for him, but ownership had other ideas. The controversy stems from the removal of two of Jackson's assistants, Brian Scalabrine and Darren Erman, which escalated rumors that Jackson was in trouble. Scalabrine was fired without Jackson consulting ownership first. Erman was caught taping conversations that reportedly illustrate that Jackson was trying to undermine him. Erman was fired.

So, even though the Warriors won a lot the past two seasons, there was always descent between Jackson, his staff and the front office in general. Apparently Golden State's ouster from the playoffs was good enough reason to fire Jackson.

Now Jackson and his 121 victories in three seasons are free to find another job. And he will very quickly. He's a good coach. He turned a dead franchise into a perennial playoff team. He helped mold Stephen Curry into a great player, and found a way to win with guys like David Lee and Andre Iguodala. This cannot be ignored, and as a guy who is a former New York Knick player, and New York resident, bringing Jackson in to coach the Knicks would be an interesting move at the least for Phil Jackson and company.

Sure, Mark Jackson is not schooled in the Triangle Offense; he comes with an entirely different philosophy. Sure his issues with the Warriors front office would have to be addressed, but come on, this is Phil Jackson, and has there been a more dysfunctional front office than the Knicks over the years? The Knicks define dysfunction.

All kidding aside, Jackson would give the Knicks something Steve Kerr can't give them right now. Experience. He has been there, he has won, and he knows what it takes to get a team motivated and into the playoffs. He competed well against the best of the West, a conference dominated by Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and the Clippers (Yes, the Clippers not the Lakers). Bringing Jackson home to New York would not only motivate him even more, it might be the exact person who can convince Carmelo Anthony to stay put.

Sure Phil Jackson is going to play a large roll in player personal and decision making. His pitch to Anthony will be the key of the off-season, but if Mark Jackson comes in with his passion for New York basketball, it might be enough to sell Anthony to stay. Let alone, it might be enough to bring other free agents to town as well.

Phil Jackson needs to do the right thing here and kick the tires on Mark Jackson, talk to him and see if a fit is at all possible.

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