Just one month into the 2014-15 season, it was extremely clear to the NBA that the New York Knicks were all aboard a tanking of the season. Today, the Knicks are an abysmal 14-61, and every conversation about Knicks basketball has already shifted to the offseason. It’s obvious Knicks fans want to forget this dreadful season, as it is the worst season in franchise history. But trusting the future plans of the Knicks organization is a foolish endeavor that will likely end in despair.
When it was announced that Phil Jackson was coming to New York a little over a year ago, the feeling in the New York media and the consensus among fans was exactly how it is now. Next year things will be better. The future of this team is bright. The fact that Jackson had never been a team president was completely swept under the rug. Knicks fans were happy to be hearing about something else other than the fact that they were losing.
In a recent letter to season ticket holders, Jackson had the audacity to assure Knicks fans that “the plan is in place,” and to “remain optimistic.” But this comes from the same man that had no way of knowing that this season was going to be as horrific as it has been. Had Jackson known how awful the Knicks were going to be this season, he would have never agreed to signing forward Carmelo Anthony to a five-year, $124 million contract. Teams that are rebuilding and looking to tank for draft picks don’t sign aging stars to mega-deals. The deal showcases Jackson’s unawareness of his roster and will likely haunt the Knicks’ rebuilding plans in the future.
Three days ago, Jackson fired Knicks D-League coach Kevin Whitted with just four games remaining in the season. The Westchester Knicks have had a rough year, but one of the few bright spots for the Knicks this season was the addition of Langston Galloway. A former D-Leaguer with a dream that epitomizes New York hoops, Galloway is currently under contract with the Knicks until 2016 from a deal offered by Jackson. This was a hypocritical decision that has gone disregarded my most media outlets. As usual, the topics surrounding Knicks basketball continue to be about next year.
Knicks fans have seen this movie before. Many brilliant basketball minds have come to New York in the past 15 years to add asterisks to their careers. Jeff Van Gundy and Lenny Wilkens were both driven to the point of resignation in their stints with the Knicks. Larry Brown is widely regarded as a fantastic coach, but he couldn’t win in New York. And to spare Knicks fans the agony, the details surrounding Isiah Thomas will remain unmentioned.
In the past, knowledgeable Knicks fans would blame James Dolan for the horrific misfortune this team has been through. But prior to this season, Dolan handed over all presidential decisions to Jackson in that whopping $63 million contract. The translation to that contract? “If this goes down in flames, you’re taking the heat for this.”
New York Sportswriter of the Year Frank Isola said this about Jackson’s recent press conference: “So as Jackson continues to be self-deprecating about his job performance today while also painting an optimistic tomorrow, allow us to be somewhat cynical about ‘The Plan is in Place.’ It sounds more like marketing from the Garden. And that does not please the basketball gods.”
As per usual, Isola is right. The best thing for Knicks fans right now, depressingly, is to be cynical. The past and present future decisions of this franchise don’t warrant many positive feelings, certainly not trust. So sorry Mr. Jackson, but Knicks fans will have to see your “plan” to believe it.
Spoiler alert: The plan will consist of praying for the No. 1 pick and then overpaying/trading for some “superstars.” They tried this prior to the 2010 season with Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. It failed miserably. Why should Knicks fans feel this plan is any different?