NBA Coast to Coast: Phil Jackson takes responsibility for Knicks' woes

NBA Coast to Coast: Phil Jackson takes responsibility for Knicks' woes
New York Knicks President Phil Jackson talks to reporters during a news conference on Saturday before a game against the Charlotte Hornets. (Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Phil Jackson offered a mea culpa for the New York Knicks' awful first half of the season but said he's doing what's best for the franchise's future.

Days after trading away two of the team's best players and getting little in return, Jackson asked fans not to blame coach Derek Fisher because what's shaping up as the worst season in franchise history is his responsibility.

The Knicks fell to an NBA-worst 5-35 with their 110-82 loss to Charlotte to extend the longest single-season skid in team history to 15 games.

"In anticipating that we were going to be better, that we were giving hope to our fans that maybe there was a possible playoff opportunity here, that goes on me," Jackson said.


"That we have to now take responsibility and move forward and make things happen, that also goes on me and now I have to do the job that I was brought in to do."

Jackson had said before his first full season as the team's president of basketball operations that he thought the Knicks were capable of contending for a playoff spot, but now says that "they obviously weren't."

But Jackson, part of two championship teams with the Knicks as a player and a title-winning coach with the Lakers and Bulls, insisted he's making moves that could turn around a franchise that hasn't won since that second title in 1973.

"We're going through this period of time and for some of the people that have been fans of this team have told me many times that there's been this impression that maybe the team should blow it up and should start over again and it's never happened," Jackson said. "It's always been going after the next big star.

"We kept searching for the big star to change our fortunes which has never happened in the last 45 years or so, so reality is that this is probably the best way to go about the business and to begin and to restart and do it the right way and put it together in a way that really makes sense."

Jackson traded guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland this week in a three-team deal that could leave the Knicks with more than $25 million in salary cap space next summer. Jackson said he hopes to bring in five to six new players next season.

He acknowledged making the wrong decisions on the team he put together this season, though he was hamstrung for financial reasons. He may not be done making moves, saying the Knicks could be active at next month's trade deadline.

"I just think that no one should be surprised in what we do from here on out," Jackson said.


The Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans have agreed on a five-player trade that would send forward Jeff Green from Boston to Memphis, according to multiple reports, some of which said the deal would be announced Monday. Forward Tayshaun Prince would go from Memphis to Boston and forward Quincy Pondexter from Memphis to New Orleans.

The trade also would send guard Austin Rivers, the 10th overall pick in 2012, from New Orleans to Boston, and 2014 second-round pick Russ Smith, a point guard, from New Orleans to Memphis. Memphis also will send a protected first-round draft choice to Boston and a second-rounder to New Orleans.

The trade is expected to provide more offense for Memphis, which is in a tight race for the Southwest Division lead. The Grizzlies (25-11) were leading the division until losing at New Orleans on Friday night, marking Memphis' sixth loss in 10 games.


More bad news for Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, who was ruled out for Chicago's game against Milwaukee on Saturday night and could have an MRI exam on his sore left knee.

Coach Tom Thibodeau says Rose saw team physician Dr. Brian Cole on Saturday night. Thibodeau says he doesn't believe that Rose had been scheduled for an MRI yet, but that could change after the 2011 NBA MVP is examined by Cole.

Rose scored 19 points in Chicago's 102-86 loss at Washington on Friday night. Rose, who missed much of the previous 2 1/2 seasons with knee injuries, had played in the Bulls' last 11 games.


Just shoot, J.R.

In his first game with Cleveland after being traded from New York, J.R. Smith didn't know much of the offense. But he figured he'd do what he has done his entire mercurial NBA career. "My motto is, when in doubt, shoot!"

Who gets the minutes now?

Already deep Golden State got more depth when center Andrew Bogut returned from a lengthy injury. According to Draymond Green, the pressure is now on Warriors Coach Steve Kerr to dole out the minutes: "Coach has some problems now. We don't."

Shaq vs. Dwight

Over the years, Shaquille O'Neal has taken his shots at Dwight Howard, criticizing the Houston Rockets center for just about everything. "A lot of people may think I'm picking on him," O'Neal, an analyst for TNT, said during Thursday night's broadcast. "I'm not picking on him. I have to stay on the big man like the forefathers stayed on me."

--Broderick Turner


Golden State at Oklahoma City

When: Friday, 5 PST. TV: ESPN

It will be the fourth and final meeting between these young and exciting teams. The Warriors have won the first three games, including a 26-point blowout the last time they played, earlier this month in Oakland. It's more of a must-win game for the Thunder because it is possible OKC and Golden State could meet in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Warriors are trying to hold onto the best record in the NBA and the Thunder is trying to get back among the top eight teams in the West.

--Broderick Turner