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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Is this war between Jackson and Dolan?

By Ian Begley

Here's what Phil Jackson had to say about a New York Daily News report that stated he and owner James Dolan have been embroiled in a disagreement over personnel decisions.

"As far as Jim Dolan's promise or his premise when I took this job that's he's going to leave basketball decisions up to me, really, he's been loyal to that promise," Jackson said.

If you take Jackson at his word, then everything should be fine among the Knicks' hierarchy.

On the surface, it makes sense that Jackson would want to make personnel changes. Any executive that takes over an entity -- whether in professional sports or corporate America -- wants to bring in his or her own people to help run the show.

And Jackson, it appears, is no different.

But here's where things seem to go a little sideways.

The Daily News, citing an unnamed team source, stated that Jackson is looking to remove several staff members from the organization but has run into opposition from Dolan.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said on SportsCenter Wednesday that there was a "discrepancy" between Jackson and Dolan over the team's medical staff. Jackson, according to Smith, was looking to cut ties with the team's medical staff and Dolan said the team's medical personnel were "untouchable."

You also hear whispers that Jackson wants to make changes in the front office.

Sometimes, when there is smoke, there's fire. Sometimes, it's just smoke.

Let's take Jackson at his word here.

On the day he hired Jackson last month, Dolan vowed that the 13-time NBA champion would "be in charge of all basketball decisions."

And Jackson says that is still the case today.

If that's true -- and remains so in the future -- then everything could be OK in the Dolan-Jackson marriage.

But if this tiff between Dolan and Jackson over the team's medical staff is accurate, then it will be interesting to see how things develop from this point forward.

If he wishes, Jackson can take a stand on this issue and challenge Dolan, essentially going to war with his boss. Or, he can acquiesce Dolan and try to find a middle ground where the current medical staff remains in place.

If he chooses to go to battle with Dolan over this, the Jackson-Dolan marriage may end in the ugly divorce.

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