Should Phil coach and be team president?

March, 8, 2014
Mar 8
11:51
PM ET
Here's the latest with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks. A source close to the team told Stephen A. Smith that Jackson is leaning toward taking a front-office job that would give him complete control of all basketball-related matters.

What is unclear, according to Smith's source, is whether Jackson will also commit to coaching the Knicks.

SportsNation

What role would you want Phil Jackson to have with the Knicks?

  •  
    34%
  •  
    10%
  •  
    50%
  •  
    6%

Discuss (Total votes: 14,799)

There are several issues to unpack surrounding the possibility of Jackson taking on coaching duties with the Knicks:

1. His age: Jackson is 67. He previously has said health considerations precluded him from seriously considering a return to coaching. He told NBA TV in late January that "my stock answer has been I have no intention of coaching again."

But a source with knowledge of his thinking told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that after having several surgeries over the past few years, Jackson is "ready to go back to work."

Does that mean he'd be ready to handle the grind of an 82-game season, which includes practices that last several hours and morning shootarounds?

That's a question both the Knicks and Jackson have to consider.

2. Better to have another voice on the bench? There's no question that Jackson brings incredible, unquestionable credentials to the bench. He has a record 11 NBA titles as a head coach and one as a player (in 1973, with the Knicks).

He has the best winning percentage among NBA head coaches with at least 10 seasons in league history (.704).

But if Jackson returns to the bench, that would rule out a potential return for Jeff Van Gundy, John Calipari or, in what would be an extreme long shot, Chicago's Tom Thibodeau.

What's clear after this disappointing season is that the Knicks need a strong voice on the bench going forward.

Their winning percentage has decreased by 29 percent this year, the largest dip in the league. And it seems as if they will have the same core players back next season.

So the biggest upgrade they can make is at the coaching position, which is what makes the Jackson/coaching dynamic so crucial here.

Another issue to unpack is Jackson's ability to handle the coach and president positions. It's hard to question whether Jackson can turn things around as a coach. But he's got very little experience as a team executive. So the Knicks will have to ask themselves if they think Jackson can handle the fine details of serving as team president while juggling the daunting responsibilities of a head coach.

If not, they may want to leave the coaching to someone else.

Question: Do you think Phil Jackson should serve as coach of the Knicks as well as team president?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.5 3.3 0.9 37.0
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.5
StealsP. Prigioni 1.3
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3