ESPN broke the news overnight, and the localtabloids are confirming it this morning: Owner James Dolan is going to eat the two years and $24 million remaining on Jackson's five-year contract just to get Phil out of the paint before he alienates the team beyond fix.
Of course, Phil Jackson and the Knicks would much rather trade Melo.
Anthony - whose separation from the National Basketball Association player was announced in April - said, "Him and I are the best of friends and our number one commitment is to our [10-year-old son, Kiyan]". However, his decision to serve as an executive for the first time, acting as Knicks president, has been widely seen as a disaster. So with no clear path forward from the toxic situation with Anthony, a constant public relations war over Jackson's preferred triangle offense, and new concerns about the organization's relationship with Latvian phenom and 2015 No. 4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis, sources said it was clear things had reached a breaking point by the eve of free agency.
Jackson criticized Anthony in the press on a periodic basis and all but showed him the door after last season. With Jackson at the helm, free agents have shied away from the Knicks despite being a marquee National Basketball Association team with a huge market. He was asked about a message to Knicks fans and once again Jackson said, "We know what we're doing". "But like I said, if that subject is ever broached by them, then it would have to be advantageous for us".
In the same statement released by the Knicks, Jackson said: "The New York Knicks will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish them and the Knicks organisation all the best - today and always".
Dolan said the Knicks are "currently evaluating" how to replace Jackson.
Jackson was hampered by struggles with Carmelo Anthony, the aging star with a no-trade clause who did not seem to be part of the Knicks' future but declined to agree to leave town. Playing with the Knicks won't help his career any more than it could.
Knicks general manager Steve Mills will stay in his current role and lead the team during free agency, which begins on July 1.
It clearly annoyed Jackson, who went so far as to make Porzingis available in trade talks ahead of last Thursday's N.B.A. draft.
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