There have been rumors floating around for a while now that Phil Jackson isn’t completely sold on staying with the New York Knicks on a long-term basis. His heart remains in Los Angeles, where fiancée Jeanie Buss lives and works.
Two new reports have emerged that indicate this is more than just smoke.
First, Michael Grange of Sportsnet wrote this over the weekend:
“….Jackson badly wants out of New York, preferring to return back to Los Angeles to be near his fiancée, Lakers scion Jeanie Buss. Jackson is believed to have an out in his Knicks deal that could free him up to do just that at the end of next season unless things between him and Dolan become untenable before that. It’s believed that as soon as Jeanie’s brother Jim Buss– blamed for the Lakers current free fall– is somehow removed from the scene, Jackson will be back as soon as he can engineer it.”
Then Monday night Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote: “There were rumblings around the Garden late Sunday that Jackson may be gone this summer. Next summer at the latest.”
Where there is this much smoke, there has to be some fire.
Jackson’s first couple of years at the helm in New York have been utter failures. Perhaps this is because James Dolan’s presence at the top of the food chain prohibits success. Perhaps this is because Carmelo Anthony doesn’t have what it takes to win at the big-boy level.
But the Knicks appear to be a ship that has been sunk for so long it’s in danger of never recovering, much like what we’ve seen with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL the past few decades.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have some intriguing pieces in place with young talent (the D’Angelo Russell/Nick Young video situation notwithstanding) to potentially rebuild a championship roster in the coming years.
Throw in the fact that Jackson’s sweetheart lives in Southern California and is inexorably attached to the Lakers, and it’s not hard to imagine Jackson making a move back to the west coast as soon as possible.