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Will Phil Jackson replace Mike D'Antoni as Knicks coach?

March 15, 2012|By Melissa Rohlin
  • Former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, right, talks to assistant Chuck Person in April.
Former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, right, talks to assistant Chuck Person… (Lawrence K Ho / Los Angeles…)

New York Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni resigned Wednesday amid building frustrations between himself and the team's star player Carmelo Anthony.

D'Antoni and Anthony had different ideas regarding how the offense should be run, and after the Knicks sunk to 18-24  as of Wednesday morning, D'Antoni decided to walk away.

Assistant Coach Mike Woodson will take over the helm on an interim basis. 

This leaves the question, who will eventually fill the hole? Is there a chance that Phil Jackson will come out of retirement for one last coaching stint?

Jackson, the tough-as-nails zen master, has proven that can get the league's top superstars to buy into his system. He has won 11 NBA championships with the Lakers and the Bulls and has somehow managed to always be the top dog even on teams with names like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal on the roster.

Jackson, however, is 66 years old and it's doubtful he'll come back to work for a team that's flailing and is in danger of missing the playoffs.

The Knicks haven't won a title since Jackson was in a Knicks uniform, back in 1973.

In an interview with ESPN, former Garden president Dave Checketts described how he lobbied unsuccessfully to convince Jackson to coach the Knicks in 1999. 

"I knew Phil well enough to know he was just playing me," Checketts said.

"Phil was playing me to get his Lakers number up, because he was always going to take the job that gave him the best chance to add to his championship rings. We had a good team, but we didn't have a young superstar like Kobe Bryant."

The Knicks still don't.

But is there a chance that Jackson could be convinced to return to where it all started for him, get back on the court, and try to turn the Knicks around?

Jackson, who is considered one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history, would surely be welcomed at Madison Square Garden.


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