Who had one month as their over/under before new Knicks president Phil Jackson clashed with Chairman of MSG and owner of the Knicks, James Dolan? If so, you collect first prize. Of course it was Frank Isola of the New York Daily News whose source says the two egomaniacal personalities at the top of the Knicks food chain disagreed over the staff firings on Monday and continue to wrangle over the future of other team personnel Jackson would like to dismiss as he clears house for a new regime under his watch. Here we go!
Via Isola at the NYDN:
Just one month into his role as Knicks president, Jackson has already clashed with Dolan, the chairman of Madison Square Garden, over personnel decisions, the Daily News has learned. According to a team source, Jackson is looking to remove several staff members, which is commonplace when a new administration takes over, but Dolan opposes removing certain employees.
According to the source, Dolan’s reaction to Jackson’s request was to tell the 11-time NBA championship coach to simply focus his attention on building a winning team. To say that “minor friction,” as one Garden source called it, can be classified as Jackson’s honeymoon with Dolan being over may be stretching it a bit.
But at the very least it proves that Dolan — surprise, surprise wasn’t being entirely truthful last month when he claimed he was “willingly and gratefully” giving up control of the basketball decisions to Jackson, the Hall of Fame coach.
Of course Dolan didn’t anticipate Jackson removing some of his own chums, like Steve Mills, Allan Houston and Mark Warkentien, who could all be reassigned or possibly dismissed according to Bleacher Report.
But ESPN New York’s Ian Begley tweets that Jackson denies Dolan’s interference and claims Dolan would even let free agent-to-be (and Dolan favorite) Carmelo Anthony walk if that’s what Phil wanted to do:
On the report that he has clashed with #Knicks owner James Dolan, Jackson says Dolan has been "loyal" to promise of giving him autonomy.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 23, 2014
Dolan says Phil Jackson has full power. If Jackson wanted to let Carmelo walk, Dolan says "It's his decision, that's my agreement with him."
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) March 18, 2014
There’s so much intrigue with the notoriously tight-lipped organization smack dab in the middle of the media capital of the world. With conflicting reports it’s hard to piece together the truth of the matter, but this isn’t a surprise for Knicks watchers. Dolan was supposed to give former GM Donnie Walsh (now with the Pacers) full autonomy of the team before he stripped that power away to bring in Carmelo Anthony during the 2011-12 season for a collection of young talent many believe was dramatically over-selling for ‘Melo’s services.
It makes us think there really is a rumble behind the scenes between Jackson and Dolan over certain personnel, but that’s just something we’re inferring without much more than Isola’s unnamed sources to go on.
Will Jackson and Dolan be able to co-exist?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.