- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Now that Phil Jackson has agreed to join the Knicks as president, he has several big decisions to make.
Below, we give you what should be the top five items on his "to do" list:
1. What do I do with Melo?
Jackson will have to decide if he wants to rebuild the Knicks around free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks can offer Anthony a five-year contract worth $129 million. Other teams can give Anthony a max contract of four years and $96 million.
2. Who should I bring in to coach the team?
It seems to be a foregone conclusion for a while that Mike Woodson will be fired at season's end. So who will Jackson hire to be the new coach?
Will he bring in his buddy Steve Kerr? What about Byron Scott? Kurt Rambis?
Will Jackson automatically dismiss the possibility of a big name like Jeff Van Gundy or John Calipari?
3. How do I handle the rest of the roster?
Can he dump them on a rebuilding team with cap space in a trade? Will he let them run out?
Due in part to the contracts mentioned above, the Knicks are expected to be over the cap this offseason. So they will be limited in what they can do to reshape the roster this summer.
Given that circumstance, what moves can Jackson, who has no experience as an executive, execute to improve the team?
4. How much control do I really have?
One of the reported sticking points during Jackson's negotiations with the Knicks was the idea of him having autonomy over basketball decisions. Owner James Dolan has been known to meddle in his executive's attempts to make trades and sign free agents. Jackson will likely want to avoid that situation. Is Dolan willing to acquiesce on that demand?
He gave Donnie Walsh full autonomy, but then stepped in during the Knicks' negotiations with the Nuggets leading up to the Melo trade. Ultimately, Dolan made a deal Walsh would have passed on.
Will the same thing happen to Jackson?
5. What should I do with the front office?
Jackson's hiring makes for an awkward situation in the Knicks' front office. In late September, Dolan fired general manager Glen Grunwald and hired Steve Mills as president and GM. Mills was to be the Knicks' chief basketball decision-maker.
Now that role belongs to Jackson. So where does that leave Mills? And what about assistant GM Allan Houston? Houston, a favorite of Dolan's who on Monday was named GM of the Knicks' D-League affiliate in Westchester, N.Y., is likely safe.
It's unclear how Jackson's hiring affects other members of the front office, such as Mark Warkentien, the executive instrumental in many free-agent signings in the past two seasons.
Question: What do you think Jackson's priority should be now that he's running the Knicks? And do you think he will push to re-sign Anthony, or let him walk?
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