Knicks intend to honor Jackson's contract 'all the way to the end'
The Zen Master won't be forced out of the Big Apple.
New York Knicks owner James Dolan hired Phil Jackson as team president in 2014, inking him to a five-year deal worth about $12 million per year, and he's standing by his man "all the way to the end."
"I'm going to honor that agreement for the full agreement," Dolan said Friday on The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
Jackson can opt out of his deal after this season, but the team owner said he's received no indication that the Hall of Fame coach plans to exercise it.
The 71-year-old's future with the Knicks has come into question recently with the team struggling mightily. After getting off to a promising start in 2016-17, ranking as high as third in the East, New York has fallen well out of the playoff picture.
Unfortunately, drama has plagued the team even more so off the hardwood. B
Between Jackson's controversial comments about players - including Carmelo Anthony and Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James - Derrick Rose going AWOL, and most recently, Charles Oakley being forcibly removed from a game, there's been no shortage of distractions in New York.
And yet, Dolan is able to find a silver lining in what Jackson and coach Jeff Hornacek are doing.
"Everything I see is that they're putting all their efforts into winning," he said of the 12th-place squad.
So then why aren't things going well for the Knicks?
"Ask Phil," Dolan replied.
Jackson's reportedly been trying to run the franchise's star player out of town, and so far his only successful move was drafting stud Kristaps Porzingis in 2015. New York has failed to make the postseason in each of Jackson's first two seasons, and seems destined to notch the three-peat barring a post-All-Star-break turnaround.
Asked if he still believes in Jackson, Dolan would only say: "I'm going to honor my agreement. It doesn't matter if I think he's right or wrong. I'm going to honor my agreement, because that's what you do."
The businessman also said Jackson can tweet whatever he wants, because part of the agreement to pry him away from the Los Angeles Lakers was to entrust him with full control of not only New York's basketball decisions, but also his own PR stunts.
Dolan admitted he doesn't have the skill set to make choices on behalf of the Knicks, so he refuses to meddle or tell Jackson how to do his job. He can only sit back and hope for the best.