Phil Jackson may be one of the best coaches to ever work in the NBA, but when it comes to his tenure as president of The New York Knickerbockers, he has looked anything but great.
Jackson has had the job for three full seasons now and over that time the team is 80-166. He is also responsible for re-signing Carmelo Anthony to a huge contract and, more importantly, giving him a no-trade clause – which has made it hard to get rid of him even though Jackson has made it very clear that he doesn’t want him on the team anymore.
There have also been countless times where his dealing with players such as Anthony and Derrick Rose have been highly criticized by both the players and outside media. And at times he has seemed almost uninterested in doing his job.
But for all his failings as president he did one thing very right. He drafted Kristaps Porzingis! He scouted him and saw the potential when no one else did and drafted him with the 4th pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
When he did it, there were lots of shocked faces and fans booing. But now, two years later he has been proved right as Porzingis, at 7 feet 3 inches tall, and 21 years old, last season averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2 blocks per game and is the perfect player for the Knicks to build their future around. That is, if Phil Jackson doesn’t trade him!
When news broke a couple days ago that Jackson would be open to trading Porzingis, there were probably some that thought it was just a false rumor. But Jackson confirmed the rumors during an interview with MSG Network, saying:
“So we've been getting calls and we're listening, but we're not intrigued yet at this level. But as much as we love this guy, we have to do what's good for our club.”
Jackson also recognized how special Porzingis is, saying "He's a unicorn, and he's special." but with the same breath also saying, "The future, you know, what it brings... Does it bring us two starters and a draft pick or something that's even beyond that? [That's] something we have to look at as far as going down the road."
And ESPN is reporting that teams that have been in contact with the Knicks can confirm that NY is open to a possible trade but one team came away from the talks with the impression that the Porzingis price tag was extremely high.
ESPN is also reporting that sources have told them that the Knicks have talked to every team in the top 5 positions of this years NBA draft lottery (Philadelphia, L.A. Lakers, Boston, Phoenix and Sacramento) looking to get their draft pick and some young stars.
In a statement from Porzingis' brother, Janis (who works for Kristaps' primary agent Andy Miller) he reiterated the fact that his brother wants to stay in New York - but not without taking a little shot at the organization and Phil Jackson, saying:
"Despite how the Knicks are treating their players, Kris wants to stay in New York...He loves the city, and he loves the fans and he wants to win with this team. If he's going to be traded, he's going to play out his contact and decide his future on his own."