Phil Jackson Is Starting To Make His Mark

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    Updated: June 25, 2014
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    Phil Jackson is making things happen for the New York Knicks already? Well, that escalated quickly. Today the New York Knicks traded away their center Tyson Chandler and their out of favor point guard Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two draft picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. This could mean a great deal for the Knicks and not just on the court. After years of front office turmoil and mediocrity it seems with Phil Jackson things are starting to get done in Madison Square Garden. So what does this mean for the franchise?

     

    Phil Jackson Is Moving The Knicks In A New Direction…

     

    It’s been a long time since the Knicks made a trade that didn’t have the rest of the league laughing at them and their fan base pulling their hair out. It always seemed as if any trade involving the Knicks would mean the Knicks were trading away a future 1st or 2nd round pick and getting back table scraps in return. But today, the Knicks were the ones trading for players and receiving picks; and it looks like a good trade for the Knicks. The Knicks get rid of Felton who was not loved in New York, they also traded away Tyson Chandler’s contract that also helps because in the last two seasons Chandler hasn’t looked like the former defensive player of the year. Maybe he’s being slowed down because of injuries and father time, or maybe the general malaise of being part of a bad Knicks team left him unmotivated. But he wasn’t the same player he was when he first became a Knick.

    Phil Jackson did not draft, trade or sign Felton and Chandler and most of the other Knicks on the roster so he has no emotional attachment. For him the only goal he has in mind is to make the Knicks better and as soon as possible. I constantly hear the Knicks are a “2-3 year rebuilding project,” which they are, but that doesn’t mean Phil has to sit on his hands in the mean time and not try to improve the team little by little. Dalembert is a decent center but not the man who will help lead to a championship. And Larkin looks like he’s going to be a good player in this league so there’s that. But I’ve heard rumors that there is possibility Phil is looking at an even bigger picture than what he’s just acquired. Rumor has it that Phil may be looking to flip Larkin and Dalembert and possibly a draft pick to get into the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Now that would be something to see.

    Again, Larkin is a good young piece and I can see a lot of teams looking to add him now so he can grow with their franchise. He works hard and he seems like once he gets into the NBA groove he will be a special point guard. But Phil seems to have a bigger plan in mind. Either way if Phil keeps these players or trades them into something better, the Knicks are on the right path to success. Which leads us to another question that can lead to about a million questions…

     

    What Does This All Mean For Carmelo Anthony’s Knick Future?…

     

    This is sort of a loaded question. If Phil just keeps the players he has now, this roster isn’t close to being good enough to fighting for any sort of championship, and Carmelo Anthony knows this. But Phil doesn’t seem to care what Melo does one way or the other. Phil said it himself he’s not losing sleep over Melo’s decision to stay or go and that’s exactly how it should be. I’ve been saying on La Sportsa Nostra for months that both the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony should part ways and get a fresh start. Melo is 30 years old and needs to go someplace where he can win now. Phil needs to completely dismantle the roster and build it around the guys he wants and trusts. Obviously if Melo decides to return and sign a long-term max contract with the Knicks Phil will welcome him with open arms. But if not, Phil and the Knicks new regime won’t lose sleep over it because I think Phil has his plan in mind.

    And that plan is to clear as much cap space as possible to make a run at free agents in the summer of 2015 when the Knicks will have cap space to get two max players and they’ll have their 2015 draft pick. Everything Phil is doing is for the long-term goal of keeping the Knicks a contender for years to come. For too many years the Knicks were in win now mode with no real plan of action in mind. It was free agent signing this, trading away draft pick that, then mediocrity. So Melo is not out of the plans, but Phil Jackson isn’t making him an essential part of the plan. With this approach it’s a win-win for the Knicks. Because with Phil Jackson not being beholden to any one player, he won’t bend over backwards to any demands.

    This trade puts the rest of the NBA on alert that the Knicks are moving in the right direction and they won’t be bamboozled anymore in trades. Now the Knicks and Phil Jackson need to build on this and their fan base needs to remain patient. This is a process and it may be a while before the results bear real fruit. But if this trade is any indication of what’s to come under Phil Jackson, the Knicks may be in very good hands. Not something you’re used to huh, Knicks fans.

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