MSG Network’s plan to reunite Mike Breen with his longtime ESPN colleague Mark Jackson, who was let go this offseason, as a fill in for Clyde Frazier this season has fallen through because Knicks president Leon Rose reportedly refuses to let Jackson fly on the team plane.
According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Jackson had a deal worked out that would’ve had him start this coming week for MSG, calling games on the Knicks’ upcoming 5-game road trip, but Rose shut that down due to a dispute between Jackson and Knicks assistant coach David Erman, who was fired by Jackson when he was the head coach of the Warriors.
MSG Network planned on having Jackson occasionally fill in for Clyde Frazier this season, but Knicks management, led by team president Leon Rose, put a kibosh on the arrangement in part due to an old quarrel with Jackson and an assistant coach, according to sources.
“We weren’t able to work something out this season,” an MSG Network spokesman told The Post.
Rose was the final decision maker behind not allowing Jackson on the team plane, hotel or team bus, according to sources. All other TV broadcasters are permitted to travel and room with the team, though there is generally little intermingling. Rose does not speak to the media.
It’s a rather stunning decision, in part because MSG and the Knicks are both owned by James Dolan, which means somewhere along the line there was a disconnect between the two sides. As Marchand notes, Jackson fired Erman for allegedly recording players and coaches conversations and that dispute apparently still stings enough that the Knicks chose to keep Jackson away from the team’s inner circle.
Jackson could have flown separately from the team charter and booked his own travel, but with Jackson not earning extra money on the deal — anything he’s paid by MSG would just offset his buyout from ESPN — he chose not to. In his place, Wally Szerbiack will fill in for Frazier as Jackson remains sidelined from any TV gigs.