Knicks’ Phil Jackson says he won’t chase a point guard
LOS ANGELES — Phil Jackson believes so much in his system that he doesn’t think the Knicks should be “chasing a point guard.”
That’s one of the Knicks’ biggest weaknesses. But Jackson, the Knicks’ president, believes in his two-guard format — which was successful due to all-time greats Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
“It works and we know it works,” Jackson said. “So my idea of chasing a point guard, where it becomes just an obsession isn’t necessary. It’s not necessary. We can play the game without that. But we still need to have good performers.”
Mike Conley Jr. is expected to be a Knicks target in free agency this summer, but they might need to open some cap space. They also need versatile wing players, who are important for the triangle and in today’s NBA.
Jackson believed Jose Calderon would be a good fit at point guard, but his defense has been a liability. Jackson said the Knicks are seeing whether Langston Galloway or Jerian Grant can make the leap.
Jackson also said the Knicks will sign Tony Wroten, though Jackson admitted he “needs a lot of medical attention” and likely won’t play this season. The plan is to have Wroten on the Knicks’ summer league team so they can take a look at him.
“He’s a big point guard, a tall kid that can do things,” Jackson said. “Our process is going on, it’s a little underground, a little beneath the surface but this is one of our desires, that we have to have a penetrator and we have to have somebody that can handle those roles.”
Jackson said the Knicks would be active in free agency, and that they “have agents calling us up all the time.”
The Knicks have roughly $19 million in cap space, but could have more if Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams opt out of their deals. Jackson said he would like to keep some of the Knicks’ free agents and hopes to have the money to add more than one significant player.
“It’s going to be a seller’s market this year,” Jackson said. “We have definite ideas about how to help this team. I think we’re going to do just fine in free agency.”
Porzingis hits wall
Kristaps Porzingis’ production has dipped, and so has his pop and aggressiveness. Yet, he’s been reluctant to say he has hit the rookie wall. Jackson did, though.
In speaking about the Knicks as a whole, Jackson said, “We had a pretty good run for three months and our phenom, our kid that has surprised everybody, hit the wall and it’s been tough for him in the process.”
Interim coach Kurt Rambis said he hasn’t spoken to Derek Fisher since he was fired last month and admitted, “I should have reached out to him at some point in time.”
Rambis didn’t comment on Fisher’ essay entitled “The Truth” that ran on Sports Illustrated.com Thursday because he said he hadn’t read it. Fisher defended his personal life more than anything. Rambis said Fisher “worked hard” and that the entire staff was “fully supportive of Derek.”
Out of action
Arron Afflalo missed his second straight game due to a strained abdominal muscle and Lance Thomas sat for the third straight time with a sore left knee.