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Phil Jackson’s Marriage With The Knicks Was Doomed From The Start

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It was pretty clear at the end that things were not going well between Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks. Now that it’s over, we’re finding out just how bad it really was.

Jackson and the Knicks parted ways on Wednesday to the cheers of Knicks fans everywhere, but no one knew just how bad it had gotten to force James Dolan to fire the winningest coach in NBA history.

Jackson ending his tenure with the team has gotten quite a few post mortems, but one published Friday by the New York Daily News has some pretty stunning tidbits. For starters, Jackson “acted like a coach” and was even running team practices and pushing the triangle offense over head coach Jeff Hornacek.

Last April he conducted a two-day mini triangle camp much to the chagrin of the players. This past season Jackson commandeered a practice to run triangle drills. As a coach, Jackson never would have allowed a front office executive to run a practice. Yet in New York he routinely stepped on Hornacek’s toes.

It hurt Hornacek’s standing in the locker room and made the players resent Jackson, who seemed intent on coaching the team even though he was physically incapable of the daily grind.

The story clearly states that Jackson was still acting like a coach and wasn’t prepared to work like a front office person. Or maybe he just never wanted that kind of job in the first place. And when it came to free agency, Jackson wasn’t exactly in his comfort zone there, either.

It’s easy to say Jackson was obsessed over the triangle, but every indication is that it truly was the case. He sounds like a man stuck in the past with every characterization of his time with the Knicks.

Jackson even used the triangle to recruit free agents. When Jackson sat down with a free agent last July the meeting got off to an awkward start when Jackson couldn’t get his computer to work. General Manager Steve Mills had to step in to start the video of how Jackson envisioned the Knicks and the unnamed free agent would play.

That video? Footage of the ’90s Chicago Bulls. The free agent in question was confused. He couldn’t figure out if Jeff Hornacek or Jackson was the coach. Either way, the player signed elsewhere.

Trying to run Carmelo Anthony out of town seems to be the last straw for James Dolan, but even that is framed more as a financial decision more than one based on incompetence. Jackson cost the Knicks a lot of money, sure, but what he really wasted was everyone’s time more than anything.

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