An Unimaginable Phil Jackson Anniversary

From 11 coaching rings to a New York Knicks run of 76-157

New York Post sportswriter Marc Berman takes no joy in documenting the failure of New York Knicks president Phil Jackson. But at the top of his column, he can’t help note the irony that on this, the third-year anniversary of the Zen Master’s contracted tenure with the team, Jackson will be flying to Los Angeles.

From a sports-brand POV, Jackson’s struggles in New York are on par with the Buss family bickering in Los Angeles. The only difference is that in Jackson’s case, no one can point to an NBA commissioner vetoing a trade would have likely sealed a completely different franchise future. (In the latest Forbes rankings, the Knicks and Lakers are one and two, respectively, in terms of calculated NBA franchise value.) From Berman’s piece:

This is a real New York tragedy–the popular former Knick defender who won two rings on their only championship teams returned as a demigod and wound up looking like a dunce.

Repeatedly, Jackson has credited [Jeanie] Buss as the driving force behind this. Jeanie told confidants she had no plans to retire and didn’t want her fiancé sitting around the house with so much wisdom to offer. Jackson went East, the couple’s relationship went south and they eventually broke up last fall. It almost doesn’t seem fair.

Can Jackson turn things around in the final two years of his five-year contract? To be demi-determined. The one bright spot of his reign is quite obviously the selection of Kristaps Porzingis as the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Meanwhile, the fourth pick in the 2005 NBA Draft (held at Madison Square Garden) and aforementioned Lakers vetoed addition, Chris Paul, plays for the team the Knicks will face Monday night at Staples.

Previously on Fishbowl:
Daily News Sportswriter Goes One-on-One With Phil Jackson