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Brighter days are ahead for the New York Knicks after team president Phil Jackson was fired by team owner James Dolan on Wednesday morning.
Where do I start? Evaluating this situation as a professional, this a great day for Knicks fans, and the franchise has a chance to get a qualified president of operations and/or general manager. Evaluating this situation as a Knicks fan, this is one of the greatest days of my life, Phil Jackson put us Knicks fans in so much misery. It's difficult to argue that Phil Jackson isn't one of the greatest coaches of all time, due to his 13 rings (even though you could say he was carried by a stacked team with his two Knicks rings and carried by Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant for his other 11), but it's also difficult to argue that he isn't one of the worst team presidents of all time. As much as it hurts me to do this, let's take a look back at some of Phil Jackson's abysmal moves:
• Hiring Derek Fisher as Knicks head coach only for Fisher to be fired for his poor coaching abilities and trying to hit on teammates girlfriends.
• Trading J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers for only a 2019 2nd round pick and players Jackson would end up waiving. Smith went on to be a major contributor for the Cavaliers.
• Re-signing Carmelo Anthony to a deal that had a no-trade clause. You don't sign someone you don't fully trust for so much money and not include a trade clause. Jackson could've traded Anthony by now and possibly would not be currently fired.
• Hiring Jeff Hornacek as head coach and publicly stating that Hornacek would be free to run what he wants, only to not allow him to run what he wants and forcing him to run the triangle. Then Jackson made Kurt Rambis the designated "defensive specialist", only for New York to finish this past season with the fifth worst defensive rating in the league.
• Panicking that he didn't sign a big-market free agent, Jackson overpaid a declining, unreliable Joakim Noah to a four-year, $72 million deal. Noah went on to play only 46 games this past season averaging 5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
• And the grand finally. Drafting Frank Ntilikina when Dennis Smith Jr. was still available. Ntilikina could possibly be a better player than the former NC State point guard, but Smith Jr. should have been the obvious there.
The Zen Master left the New York Knicks as a disaster, but there's a lot to look forward to. Dolan mentioned that GM Steve Mills, and Tim Leiweke will be in charge of basketball operations. Leiweke was in charge of hiring Masai Ujiri for president for the Raptors, so Ujiri could possibly be a good candidate. Another good candidate is former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. As a Knicks fan, I would enjoy Jeff Van Gundy being team president, Allan Houston as general manager and Mark Jackson as head coach. But knowing New York, they'll likely not make many changes in the front office and will keep Hornacek as head coach.
A few hours after Jackson was fired, Chris Paul opted into his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers and was traded to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, DeAndre Liggins, Tim Quarterman and a 2018 first-round pick. With Paul opting his contract, he'll be a free agent after next season, as will Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. As I mentioned earlier, knowing the Knicks, this likely won't happen, but the whole banana boat crew could sign with New York during the 2018 offseason, as they've all wanted to play together on one team. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Today we rejoice, Knicks fans.