NY Post – Phil Jackson has reached an agreement in principle to oversee the Knicks basketball operations and “president’’ will be in his title, according to a league source. All that’s left is the lawyers finalizing the last contract details by week’s end before Jackson officially returns to the organization that drafted him and where he won two titles as a player. The Post has learned Jackson gave the Knicks a verbal commitment on Saturday. The Garden still will not comment on Jackson’s status. Knicks president/general manager Steve Mills will remain on board in a revised role and work with Jackson. Knicks owner James Dolan hired Mills because of his vast network of contacts with NBA agents and GMs. That isn’t the strong suit of Jackson, winner of 11 titles as coach of the Bulls and Lakers. Some issues during the last couple of days revolved around his living arrangements. Jackson lives in Marina Del Rey, Calif., with his fiancée, Lakers president Jeanie Buss. Jackson is expected to live in New York during the season, but do some commuting.
NYDN – The Daily News has learned that Dolan has solicited the help of Bradley, Jackson’s former Knicks teammate and longtime friend, to serve as an intermediary in the club’s negotiations with the Hall of Fame coach, who is contemplating a lucrative deal to run the Knicks. According to a person close to Jackson, Dolan and Bradley have been working together to finalize an agreement that would make Jackson the highest-paid basketball executive in NBA history. The source claims that reports of Jackson being offered an annual salary of $12 million are erroneous and that Jackson could be looking at a deal that pays him in excess of $15 million. The person close to Jackson also indicated that the two sides have had preliminary discussions about Jackson possibly owning a minority stake in the team.
Conflicting reports about the Phil Jackson situation coming from Berman Of The Post and Frank Isola from the NYDN. A battle of 2 beat writers that absolutely hate each other. Frank Isola public shames Berman all day every day on Twitter in dramatic fashion. Its honestly one of the most emasculating things I’ve seen. Isola just destroys him on a regular basis. They need to just get in a Hell In A Cell one day and settle it once and for all. I could see Isola throwing Berman right through the top of the cage directly on to a bed of thumbtacks.
As far as the status of Phil Jackson – I tend to lean towards Isola here. Nobody else besides the Post is reporting that a deal is in place. And it makes a lot more sense that Phil would be negotiating almost $15 million and a stake of the team. People keep saying “Why the fuck would Phil Jackson want this job?” Well here’s your answer. Becoming the highest paid executive of all time and owning a stake in the most valuable franchise in the NBA is a pretty persuasive compensation package. Phil Jackson would preside over a fucking D-League team for that sort of salary and equity.
Obviously it seems absolutely crazy to give a guy a percentage of ownership to be “president” of some sort. But in a weird way I think if they are gonna do this, that might be the best way to go about it. Giving Phil Jackson a vested, long term interest in this franchise goes a long way to ensure he takes this job seriously. Not that he wouldn’t take it “serious,” but I could just see Phil rolling the dice, trying out a front office role, and if things don’t go according to plan and Steve Mills and James Dolan are problematic, just saying “fuck it.” His legacy is secure, this front office experiment didn’t pan out, forget it. Giving him a small percentage of the team may protect against that.
Ultimately I think its only a matter of time but for now I think we wait for Isola’s report to make it official.