Zen Master is leaving Knicks
Phil Jackson’s three-year run in New York ends with no playoff spots.
Phil Jackson wanted to trade Carmelo Anthony and wouldn’t rule out dealing Kristaps Porzingis.
Turns out, Jackson is the one leaving.
Jackson is out as New York Knicks president after he oversaw one of the worst eras in team history, with the team saying in a statement Wednesday that the Knicks and Jackson had “mutually agreed to part company.”
Days after Jackson reiterated his desire to move Anthony and said he would listen to deals for Porzingis, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan reversed course and cut ties with Jackson with two years remaining on his contract.
“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.”
But his work as a firsttime executive was awful. The winner of an NBArecord 11 championships as coach with the Lakers and Chicago Bulls, Jackson couldn’t engineer one playoff berth while running the Knicks. The team was 80-166 in his three full seasons, including a franchise-worst 1765 in 2014-15.
Dolan said he wouldn’t be involved in the operation of the team, adding that general manager Steve Mills would run the day-to-day business in the short term and that former Toronto and AEG executive Tim Leiweke would advise him and help develop a plan.
Jackson was welcomed back to the organization for which he had played 10 seasons with a $60-million contract to huge fanfare in March 2014, but it soon became clear the transition would be a poor one. His first coaching hire, Derek Fisher, lasted only 11⁄2 seasons, and Jackson’s trades and freeagency moves failed to improve the club.
“I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA champi- onship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren’t able to do that,” Jackson said. “New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best — today and always.”
Heat will talk to Hayward
The Miami Heat have improved their position in the batting order from a year ago, apparently first up to the plate when it comes to the free agency of Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Pat Riley and his staff will meet with Hayward on Saturday, with the Jazz to meet with Hayward on Monday. The Boston Celtics are expected to receive the third meeting.
The Heat found themselves at the end of the line when it came to last summer’s presentations to Kevin Durant, who wound up departing the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors last summer. Kings add Serbian star Bogdanovic
The Sacramento Kings reached an agreement with Euroleague star Bogdan Bogdanovic on a three-year, $36-million contract, the Sacramento Bee reported. The 6-foot-6 guard from Serbia was MVP of the Turkish League and led Fenerbahce to its first Euroleague title this past season. He averaged 14.6 points on 50% shooting last season, including 43% from three-point range.
Ice Cube is chilling as he waits for Chauncey Billups to make a move.
The rapper-turned-basketball mogul said Wednesday that he doesn’t know if Billups will join Cleveland’s front office and lead the Cavaliers’ basketball operations or join Cube’s Big3, a new three-onthree league featuring former NBA players.
Billups, a five-time AllStar guard, remains undecided about leaving his TV analyst job.
AFTER WINNING 11 NBA titles as a coach, Phil Jackson couldn’t get the Knicks to the playoffs.