The New York Knicks announced Wednesday morning that they have fired team president Phil Jackson, who agreed to part ways with the organization, according to reports.
Madison Square Garden Executive Chairman and Knicks owner James Dolan and Jackson released a statement Wednesday morning announcing their mutual decision to part ways.
“After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction,” Dolan said. “Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive.”
“The New York Knicks will always hold a special place in my heart,” Jackson said. “This team and this town launched my NBA career. I will forever be indebted to them. I am grateful to Mr. Dolan for giving me the opportunity to return here.”
“I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden,” Jackson added. “As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren’t able to do that. New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best – today and always.”
Jackson, who is one of the best coaches in NBA history, has not been anywhere close to successful in his role in the Knicks front office. Besides the fact that the New York team has a record of 80-166 and didn’t reach the playoffs once in the three seasons that Jackson has been president, he also put stress on the relationship between the Knicks and star players, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
Jackson has repeatedly said that Anthony would be better off somewhere else, and he tried to shop Porzingis around for a trade as the NBA draft approached just last week. But it seems that Knicks owner James Dolan valued his two star players more than Jackson, and decided to cut his five-year deal with the Knicks short.
The Knicks brought Jackson on as president in March of 2014, offering him a total of $60 million, at $12 million a year, making him the highest paid executive in sports. Now he’ll be the highest paid sports executive on paid leave for the next two years.