NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – The New York Knicks are reportedly closing in on a deal to bring legendary coach Phil Jackson to the team in the front office. The Knicks have a lot of work to do, not many resources to do it, but owner James Dolan has one target in mind with the hiring of Jackson, Miami Heat president Pat Riley.
To Dolan, bringing in Jackson would finally give him the trump card to lure top free agents to New York just like Riley does in Miami. Much like Riley can roll out lots of championship rings, Jackson could do the same.
But there are two big differences between rebuilding the Knicks and continuing to build the Heat’s legacy: the team owners and the team’s resources.
In Miami, owner Micky Arison largely stays out of the way on basketball related issues. He writes the checks and gives the final clearance, but if Riley, as team president wants it, Arison will do everything possible to make it happen.
In New York, Jackson would be dealing with Dolan who has a long history of meddling in basketball affairs, making bad decisions on staffing (Isiah Thomas), and refusing to turn over full autonomy of the team, as Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday.
But the bigger problem Jackson would have to deal with is a new NBA landscape with luxury tax concerns and the Heat and Pacers dominating the Eastern Conference.
New York has no draft pick in the upcoming talent-laden draft of 2014. The Knicks traded the pick to Denver as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade. The Knicks also traded away its second-round pick this year, but may get one from Sacramento if the Kings’ second round pick isn’t in picks 31-55.
Next season, the Knicks have no second round pick. In 2016, the Nuggets have the right to swap first round picks with the Knicks and then New York will have to send the worse of the two picks to the Toronto Raptors.
Also in 2016, the Knicks will send the team’s second-round pick to Sacramento, unless it’s in picks 31-37, which would then keep the pick with New York. The Knicks also send their second-round pick in 2017 to the Toronto Raptors.
In addition to the lack of draft picks, New York will be hampered by several contracts that hang like an albatross on the neck of the franchise. Assuming the Knicks re-sign Carmelo Anthony, that’s at least $20 million against the cap by itself.
In addition, next season the Knicks will be on the hook for Amare Stoudemire’s $23 million contract plus $14.5 million for Tyson Chandler, and $12.6 million for Andrea Bargnani. Combined with other players still under contract, the Knicks have over $90 million against the cap for next season.
But, what could be appealing to Jackson is the 2015 offseason. Assuming the Knicks keep Carmelo, the team would have a little more than $30 million against the cap. That should give the Knicks freedom to sign one or two more max players if the team doesn’t get rid of J.R. Smith or Raymond Felton before then.
Still, for Jackson, who is used to winning now, he will be 70-years-old by the time the 2015 offseason rolls around. In the meantime, he’d have to deal with two rough years ahead with little hope that anything can be done to change it.
There are two things bringing Jackson to the Heat would do for the NBA: rekindle the rivalry between Pat Riley and himself, and the Knicks and Heat.