Knicks president Phil Jackson has once again garnered attention for his unconventional ways.
The Zen Master is taking a leisurely trip to Montana as New York sits around with no head coach in place and the draft plus free agency rapidly approaching.
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) May 4, 2016
I asked ESPN’s Amin Elhassan, who used to work in the Suns front office, when is the typical time for front office executives go to go on vacation and this was his response:
@Gibberman10 August? Usually a week or so after summer league ends
— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) May 5, 2016
There’s an argument to be made none of this shit matters. Jackson’s a normal human and like any other person has the right to do what he pleases.
Maybe in the end everything works out and Knicks fans can look back at the strange way he goes about his business with a good laugh.
General manager Steve Mills, the scouting staff, and even Jackson himself are all probably putting in the necessary work to be prepared for an important offseason.
The problem with the above is perception matters and the optics of Jackson going away at this time are poor. That can’t be argued whether you’re ok with the road trip or not.
The Knicks don’t have a head coach and as teams like the Rockets and Kings are looking in every direction — Carmelo Anthony is literally begging New York to do the same with it falling on deaf ears.
Teams across the league are starting to conduct workouts to get ready for July’s draft. I’m sure the Knicks will be in the future too even though they don’t have a pick, but why not start now?
As the top man in the basketball operations department Jackson sets a tone for everyone else.
Most people have worked a job where their boss didn’t lead by example and understands the trickle down effect it can bring.
There’s an expectation of players, coaches and front office personnel to use their own time to be properly prepared for next season.
What’s the illustration Jackson draws by stepping away at this time?
Not to mention how it looks across the league.
Jackson is the man sitting at the head of the table as the Knicks try to recruit free agents when essentially the entire league is going to be flush with cap space.
The last thing the Knicks need is for their point man to have a reputation of being aloof and stubborn — this is dangerously close to happening if it hasn’t already.
Most of Jackson’s actions are harmless in a vacuum, but what he’s doing is making selling the Knicks to others harder.
Jackson’s responsible for creating an image of the Knicks franchise that’s attractive and for a little bit it looked like he was. There was an aura of normalcy, a separation of Dolan and the state.
Being a president of an NBA team is bigger than putting a roster together. You need to be in tune with the operation from top to bottom.
And Jackson very well might be, but it’s hard to imagine from the view we’re getting on the outside.
Jackson’s the singular person responsible for creating that perception.