As Phil Jackson rumors continue, Mike Woodson keeps his focus on Knicks
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Rumors continued to circulate Monday that Phil Jackson could be returning to the Knicks to work in their front office.
But nothing was official or complete, and for the rest of the team, it was business as usual.
"I haven't really paid attention to the media lately," J.R. Smith said. "I've been watching the Golf Channel.''
Said Mike Woodson, "I've got to worry about what I'm doing from a coaching standpoint in terms of trying to get our guys ready to play. It's out there. It is what it is, but my focus is really on our team."
Jackson, 68, won an NBA-record 11 championships as coach of the Bulls and Lakers. Although he has no front-office experience, the Knicks hope he can make the transition from championship coach to championship executive the way Pat Riley did with the Heat.
Jackson worked as a Pistons consultant in their coaching search after last season. They hired Maurice Cheeks, who was fired after 50 games.
What Jackson's title would be is unclear, and there have been conflicting reports about whether he would have full control of the basketball department. But his job would be to help reshape the Knicks into a championship contender. Jackson played on the last Knicks team to win a title -- 41 seasons ago.
Two summers ago, Jackson said the pairing of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire didn't fit and that the Knicks' roster was "clumsy." Now it could be his job to try to keep Anthony in New York while deciding the fates of Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
Both will be free agents in 2015, which is when the Knicks are scheduled to have ample cap space to make plays for stars such as Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love.
But with Jackson potentially calling the shots, he might not want to wait a year before making a significant impact and upgrade on the team. The Knicks have no picks in this year's draft, so trades are the only way to dramatically change the roster even if Anthony leaves in free agency.
Jackson could bring in an experienced general manager to help with that and handle more of the day-to-day activities. There has been ongoing speculation that he doesn't want to relocate to New York full-time.
That also leads to questions regarding the status of the current Knicks' basketball department.
Steve Mills was hired in September to be the president and general manager. Allan Houston is the Knicks' assistant general manager and the general manager of their D-League team. Mark Warkentien serves as their director of player personnel.
The Dolan family owns
controlling interests in the
Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision.
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