Phil Jackson to Knicks: Could He Salvage the Mess?

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on May 04 2012 12:16 PM
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NBA coaching legend Phil Jackson may be plotting a return to the league. Reuters

The Knicks would be wise to target Phil Jackson as the team's next head coach when they are inevitably knocked out of the playoffs, according to one columnist.

Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that Knicks owner James Dolan would be wise to make a huge offer to Jackson to try to convince him to leave the comfy confines of retirement and take on the mess at Madison Square Garden.

Mike Woodson is a solid NBA coach, but he doesn't have the clout to make this work the way that Jackson can. No one else could command the room the way Jackson can command it. Anthony has too much leverage in the franchise, too much power, and he's done nothing to deserve it. The Knicks don't need Jackson for the sake of his résumé, his stature, but for his ability to get talent - especially talent at odds like 'Melo and Amar'e - to play together.

Wojnarowski suggests offering Jackson a three-year, $40 million contract to try to salvage the current mess. It'd be a costly move to bring on Jackson for more than $10 million per year, but money has never been an issue for Dolan's Knicks.

Yahoo Sports reports that Jackson isn't in love with the Knicks current roster, but that he could be interested in the job. If there is any interest at all, it'd make sense for the Knicks to vigorously pursue the Hall of Fame coach with 11 championship rings.

The Knicks are on the verge of being swept out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat and haven't won a playoff game since 2001.

The cornerstone of the roster, Carmelo Anthony, has the worst postseason record out of anyone who has played in more than 50 games. Amar'e Stoudemire, the Knicks' other maximum contract player, is breaking down at a rapid level and looks nothing like the high-flying, pick-and-roll dominating player the Knicks thought they signed in 2010.

The Knicks could use a legendary coach like Jackson to try to make semblance of the mess, but it is anyone's guess as to whether Jackson would risk his reputation to coach a team that needs a lot of help, but has little cap room to make moves and no first-round draft picks this year.

Other potential options include: interim coach Mike Woodson, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, Kentucky coach John Calipari, and former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.

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