Total respect to Phil Jackson. This dude is all-in. Just when you thought that the Kristaps Porzingis rumors were overhyped and overblown, and that they’d die down after a day, the 11-time champ sat down for an interview with MSG and emptied his gas can on that fire: “As much as we love this guy (Kristaps) we have to do what’s best for the club.”
And if you think this is about Phil getting all butt hurt because Kristaps skipped the exit interview, you would be right. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a player over 25 years of coaching, maybe 30, not coming to an exit meeting, so it’s not happened to me. I know it happens to other people and other players. His brother and his agent have downplayed it, but still it’s a chance for a person to express themselves and I had a real good relationship with Kristaps over the last two years. So it was kind of surprising.”
Never mind that Shaq skipped an exit meeting back in 2004 with the Lakers. Or that Derrick Rose skipped an actual game this season, not a meeting, but a game. If your 21-year-old superstar skips a meeting, you drop the hammer. And if reports are to be believed, you don’t reach out to him… and don’t let anyone else in the organization do it either. You ICE him. And then you do everything in your power to trade him.
Love it. Rule one of being a great NBA President or General Manager is: when you have the chance to trade away a 7-footer with crazy upside, who can block shots and hit the three, you do that every time you can. That’s just basic GM’ing. Honestly, I don’t know why people are giving him so much grief about this.
Don’t get it twisted, Phil knows Kristaps is good, but Phil forgetting more basketball than everyone who has played or coached put together will ever know, thinks he can do even better than Porzingis: “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. We know what he is. He’s a unicorn and he’s special.”
And everyone knows, when you find a unicorn, the first thing you do is chop it up and sell it for parts. You have to do what’s best for the club in a situation like this. And when the club has been 80-166 since you took over, clearly the best thing to do is trade away your one marketable star. A guy who never asked for a trade, and for whatever reason, really likes it there and wants to stay.
A lot of other presidents and general managers would say: I’m going to hold onto this 21-year-old big man who’s a nightmare to defend and is only scratching his potential. But not the Zen Master.
Am I the only one who has this old man’s back? Do I really have to run down all the great moves Phil has made? Do you want me to do that? Because I will. Have you seen what he’s done with his draft picks? Does the name Cleanthony Early ring a bell? Averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds last season…for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the D-League.
How about Giannis Antetokounmpo? The Greek Freak. Averaging 23 points, 9 boards and 5 assists per game. Well, Phil drafted his brother. And he averaged a point per minute in the six minutes that he played in the 2015-2016 season and he’s now playing in Andorra. So take that for data.
And he isn’t just killing it in the draft. Check the free agent moves he’s made. How many other team presidents had the stones to sign a broken down Jo Noah to a 4-year, $72 million deal? None. That’s how many. And that’s brass.
So if you’re a Knicks fan who’s freaking out right now, Phil has a message for you: “I think we know what we’re doing.”
Nothing will calm down Knicks fans quicker than the guy making 12 mill a year saying, “I think we know what we’re doing…” now watch me attempt to trade this 21 year old freak.
But rest assured, Phil’s got this. He may look like he’s flailing around and acting irrationally because Kristaps essentially pointed out that the emperor has no clothes, but he’s got this. I guess what I’m saying is… Give him some bleeping credit, I mean, for real.
Again, this guy must be trying to get himself fired, because even the worst GM in the world wouldn’t try to do something this stupid.
I used to defend this guy against everyone who said, he’s not even that good of a coach; all he had to do was the roll the basketball out for Mike and Kobe. Fact is, watching him now, in the front office, I’m starting to think all he really did was roll the basketball out for Mike and Kobe.