MIAMI — Scottie Pippen blamed his former coach, Phil Jackson, for the Knicks’ failure to make the playoffs again and believes he shouldn’t be back as team president.
During an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Thursday night, Pippen — a big part of six championship teams with the Bulls — said Jackson hasn’t brought any “upside” to the Knicks. He also sided with Carmelo Anthony for what he’s gone through this season.
“To be honest with you, I’m going to have to go at my old coach, Phil Jackson,” Pippen said. “I think he just hasn’t put the right pieces on the floor.
“I give a lot of credit to Carmelo, who is being very professional in getting through this 82-game season. And now he’s being benched to some degree, they’re taking a lot of his minutes away. But this team just hasn’t had it. They haven’t had it since Phil Jackson landed there. There hasn’t been any upside.”
The host of the show, Rachel Nichols, asked Pippen if he believes Jackson “should be out.” Pippen answered “yes.”
The Knicks are 77-162 in Jackson’s three full seasons as president and have missed the playoffs all three years.
Jackson has a five-year contract, which Knicks owner James Dolan has said he will honor. Jackson has an opt-out clause in his contract, but the last time he spoke to Knicks reporters in September, he said he didn’t plan on opting out.
Anthony spoke cryptically after the Knicks were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday night. He said he doesn’t “know my role right now” and can “see the writing on the wall.”
The Knicks are playing younger guys to see how they fit in the triangle, so Anthony is playing less, shooting less and scoring less.
“There has not been any upside to think that the New York Knicks were going to be a contender,” Pippen said. “I just feel bad for Carmelo having to go through this and having to deal with it, but he got a great contract, so . . . I’m sure the fans will love to see Carmelo in New York and Phil out.”