James Dolan vs Phil Jackson: Round One; Disagree Over Personnel Decisions
You know that boyfriend who begs his girlfriend to take him back and says, “please come back, I’ll change if you do.” And it doesn’t happen immediately…that could also be used for the New York Knicks.
If you can look back at the press conference where Knicks owner James Dolan introduced Phil Jackson to the organization he said that he was going to step back.
Maybe he spoke a little too soon on the matter.
That’s because the Knicks owner is stepping in and putting his two cents (although he admitted he wasn’t great at basketball decision), and not allowing Jackson to make some of the moves he feels necessary to put out a winning team next season.
According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Dolan is slowly going back into his old ways, (boy that didn’t take long).
Just one month into his role as Knicks president, Jackson has already clashed with Dolan, the chairman of Madison Square Garden, over personnel decisions, the Daily News has learned. According to a team source, Jackson is looking to remove several staff members, which is commonplace when a new administration takes over, but Dolan opposes removing certain employees.
According to the source, Dolan’s reaction to Jackson’s request was to tell the 11-time NBA championship coach to simply focus his attention on building a winning team. To say that “minor friction,” as one Garden source called it, can be classified as Jackson’s honeymoon with Dolan being over may be stretching it a bit.
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report goes one step further and actually names some of the people involved, and why Jackson wants to let them go.
CAA represents two key members of the front office, Allan Houston and Mark Warkentien, and has close ties to general manager Steve Mills. All three are likely to be cut loose or pushed into new roles.
Jackson, inexperienced as an executive, needs a seasoned general manager who shares his vision. That probably means a reassignment for Mills, who did little in his one season as the Knicks’ president and GM.
The same goes for Houston, a favorite of owner James L. Dolan who has been serving a front-office apprenticeship for six years but has gained little traction in NBA circles as a viable executive.
It would be easy enough to move Mills back to the business side, where he began his Garden career, and to leave Houston in charge of the Knicks’ D-League affiliate, a role he already has.
Warkentien is the Knicks’ most experienced (and most networked) basketball official. But with Jackson pursuing a thorough housecleaning, Warkentien is surely on his way out, too.
Jackson said he wants to change the entire culture of the organization. Unfortunately, it looks like he may have to work a little harder to make that happen in New York. Do you think this push back will continue?
What moves would you like to see Phil Jackson make? Tweet us! Let us know at @ThatsEnuff