The New York Knicks parted ways with Phil Jackson on Wednesday, this after going 80-166 in Jackson’s three full seasons with the Knicks.
The reaction in New York? Stunned.
“I was shocked,” FanRag Sports columnist and longtime Jackson friend Charley Rosen told Jody McDonald, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “I just thought that the Knicks were headed in the right direction and that in two more years he would turn it around.”
James Dolan and the rest of the Knicks’ brass apparently didn’t agree – though that may have been a recent revelation. After all, Jackson was fired just six days after selecting three players – Frank Ntilikina, Damyean Dotson, and Ognjen Jaramaz – in the NBA Draft.
“I agree,” Rosen said. “Why let him be in charge of drafting three players that he likes that will fit his requirements and then he’s gone? And now the Knicks have to use these players in presumably another system where they may not be as good of a fit. Yeah, the timing is a little screwy, but that’s Guitar Jimmy.”
Guitar Jimmy, of course, is Dolan, who isn’t exactly a fan favorite in New York.
“I think the media pressure just got to him,” Rosen said. “When the Knicks win three games in a row, Phil is the best thing that ever happened to New York, and then when they start losing, he’s the worst thing to ever happen to New York – and obviously they’ve lost more than they’ve won.”
Rosen added that the media has been “biased against Phil really ever since he got here, even when he was with the Lakers.”
“They thought he was trying to take Jeff Van Gundy’s job when Van Gundy had that job, which was not true,” Rosen said, rattling off Phil-as-the-enemy examples. “So he was the victimizer and Carmelo particularly was the victim, they felt, so they just jumped all over him. Anytime anything went wrong or when something happened that they didn’t understand, (it was) ‘It’s all Phil’s fault, it’s all Phil’s fault, he’s an old man, he doesn’t know what’s going on, the triangle doesn’t work anymore,’ which is absolute nonsense.
“I think all of that got to a lot of people high up in the organization, people that speak to Dolan, and Dolan just caved in, I guess,” Rosen continued. “I don’t know exactly what happened, but that’s just what I surmise.”