ORLANDO, Fla. — Phil Jackson may be gone from the Knicks, but he’s not forgotten.
Maurice Ndour, who was cut Friday to clear cap space, said Jackson was the “main reason” he was on the Knicks last season. Ndour said Jackson “texted me and wished me good luck” after Ndour was waived.
Getting cut caught him off guard. “Surprised, yeah,” Ndour said. “I don’t think I saw that coming. It’s the nature of this business. You never know what to expect.”
Ndour was on the Knicks’ summer league team and went through five practices before they waived him Friday. His $1.3-million salary would have become fully guaranteed that day had they not made the move.
Ndour couldn’t say whether he still would be a Knick if Jackson still were on board. General manager Steve Mills is running the Knicks’ basketball department right now.
“Phil is the main reason I was here with the Knicks,” Ndour said. “Whether I’d stay with the Knicks or not, I have no idea.
“Basically, they needed some space in the salary cap. That’s what they say. It had nothing to do with basketball, just business.”
Coach Jeff Hornacek said he hopes the Knicks can bring back Ndour if he remains unsigned.
Ron Baker, with whom the Knicks reached an agreement shortly after free agency began, thanked Jackson on Saturday for giving him an opportunity and called him “a friend.”
Second-round pick Damyean Dotson also thanked Jackson for taking a chance on him and drafting him with the No. 44 pick.
Dotson scored 13 points and shot 3-for-6 from three-point range in the Knicks’ 103-78 loss to the Pistons in summer league play on Sunday.
The 6-6 Dotson has impressed in the first two games with his shooting. He also has the size, length and athleticism to defend multiple positions in the NBA.
“I think I’ll be able to,” Dotson said. “I can’t stop anybody, but I can contain him. So I just got to keep getting better at that, getting better laterally, get quicker. So I feel like if I could get stronger laterally, I feel like I’ll be able to contain guys.”
Dotson could have a chance to make the Knicks, who are rebuilding and looking to develop young players. They’re not expected to make a big splash in free agency, and they need backcourt help and depth.
“I feel like I can put myself in a position to get on the court and be a great teammate and whatever I need to do,” Dotson said. “I feel like it’s a great position for anybody to be drafted and be in the NBA.”