Phil Jackson to return to New York Knicks as head of front office

Phil Jackson, who won 11 NBA championships as a coach and is one of the league’s most admired figures, has agreed to return to the New York Knicks to head the team’s front office.

The Knicks are scheduled to hold a news conference on Tuesday to announce his appointment as president, according to a person in the NBA familiar with the discussions.

Jackson, 68, won NBA titles as a player and a coach. He will now try winning as an executive. And this quest will take him back to where his career began.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Knicks would only confirm that a “major announcement” involving team executives was scheduled. Jackson also did not make any immediate public comment, but the move had been expected for several days and was practically confirmed earlier this week by the Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who said he had heard the Hall of Fame coach was “coming on board”.

Jackson had been courted by clubs before, and fans in Los Angeles clamoured for him to return to coaching not long after he left the Lakers following the 2010-11 season. He has largely shunned the limelight during this three-year break from work, during which he did things such as working on his health – arthritis pain hampered him towards the end of his coaching career – and releasing a book chronicling his basketball life.

Jackson played his first 10 NBA seasons with the Knicks and was a key part of the 1972-73 team that won the NBA title, topping the Lakers. The Knicks have not won a championship since. Jackson won 11 as a coach – six with the Chicago Bulls and five more with the Lakers.

Jackson’s arrival in New York will probably usher in a new era for the Knicks, who may miss the playoffs this season after winning 54 games a year ago. Even the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, said earlier this week that he wanted to see Jackson back in the game, saying “the league needs him”.

Jackson will have many issues to tackle immediately – New York could lose Anthony this summer through free agency and will probably look to upgrade their roster in several other areas.

With the Bulls, he had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. With the Lakers, he had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. With the Knicks, he will have more questions than answers, at least in the beginning of his first foray into life as an executive. There is also the issue of how much power he will actually have working for the Madison Square Garden chairman, James Dolan.

Since the start of the 2004-05 season, the Knicks have gone through six head coaches and won a total of seven playoff games. Starting on Tuesday, it will apparently be Jackson‘s job to change all that.

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Eric Write head editor and chief at The Pluto Daily