Phil Jackson had a less-than-stellar experience as the president of basketball operations of the Knicks. He alienated star Carmelo Anthony to the point where he requested a trade, and apparently made Kristaps Porzingis so angry he skipped out on exit meetings. New York was a public and private disaster under his watch, and eventually he was relieved of his duties.
Everybody thought they knew the worst of it, but as more details come out, the situation in New York was that much worse. The Knicks have struggled to pull in big-name free agents, but under Jackson their efforts were made even more difficult by what ESPN described as horror stories. On the Woj pod with Knicks beat writer Ian Begley, the two discussed Jackson and New York. They didn’t hold back.
I heard some horror stories about Phil in presentation situations with players – unprepared, just disorganized. And sometimes, he’d have Steve Mills in there, who’d try to re-direct him. But I know of a couple players who walked out of meetings in a couple different free-agent scenarios and, “Wow, that was Phil Jackson? That’s not how I imagined he’d be.”
It’s one thing to have a bad pitch or make a mistake in a free agency meeting, but it’s another to be completely unprepared. Sometimes players just make their decision based on money and/or location, but some players are highly sought after and have plenty of options to choose from. If players walking out of meetings stunned at how unprepared Jackson was, then the Knicks were going to struggle bringing in anybody, let alone big names.
Perhaps now that Jackson and the Knicks have moved on from each other New York will have better luck in free agency. They’ll at worst be more prepared for the meetings.