Phil Jackson has given himself the daunting task of trying to turn the New York Knicks into a respectable, winning organization. While he is one of the most respected and successful coaches of all time, he’s still relatively new at this whole front office thing, and it certainly hasn’t gone perfectly thus far. Even Jackson himself is willing to acknowledge this. He has his own feeling about what his biggest mistake has been after two years on the job. It involves Jae Crowder.
Crowder really broke out for the Boston Celtics last year, emerging as a prototype hybrid forward. Evidently, he could have been a Knick, had Jackson made a different decision. As the Zen Master told Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak:
I think the biggest mistake I made was actually this…One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics. In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo, so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.
Right now, after Crowder’s breakout season, it seems crazy to take a second-round pick over Crowder. Even at the time it was not necessarily a great decision, although it was a more justifiable one. However, given that Jackson just traded for Derrick Rose and signed Joakim Noah, there is plenty of time for Jackson to have bigger regrets in the future.
(Via Today’s Fastbreak)