Can Phil Jackson do miracle work for the Knicks this offseason?
That’s close to what it would take for Phil Jackson to turn around this Knicks franchise is just one offseason. The Knicks have circumstances on their side in terms of a potential lottery pick in the NBA Draft and spending money for the free agency period come July 1.
Jackson feels the free agent pool is where the Knicks can and will look to capitalize.
“We know what the first-round pick is going to mean for us, but we also know we’re going to build our team with free agents,” Jackson said Thursday morning after the Knicks held shootaround at UCLA before their game against the Los Angeles Lakers. “A hundred and ninety players or so are going to be free agents. Not half the league, but like a third of the league is going to be free agents. So that’s where our priority stands.
“What we’re trying to do is look at what advancement there can be in the short-term,” he said. “How quickly we can recover and get back in the hunt?”
When free agency is discussed it’s always about the marquee names first. The Knicks are in dire need of support talent for Carmelo Anthony. There will big fish free agent targets available this summer. For Jackson and the Knicks, it’s simply about who wants to take the leap:
“It’s not about who is going to have to have the most money anymore,” he said. “That playing field has pretty much evened out, especially with the amount of money that’s coming into the league. It’s going to be whose attractive enough to get the people they want to play their style of play. The way they’re doing it. So establishing how you want to play basketball is important. And there’s only a few teams in this league that can say this is our definitive way that we want to play. We want to be one of those teams. So we have eyesight on who can play in our system and who wants to play.”
Jackson’s preferred style is within the confines of the triangle offense, which begs for skilled and willing post presences. Potential targets — Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, Paul Millsap. The Knicks have been terribly void of anything close to competitive guard play. Potential targets — Goran Dragic, Rajon Rondo, Wesley Matthews.
Don’t forget, there are some pretty big names in the 2016 free agent pool as well, so Phil might not necessarily have all hope built just into this summer.
Jackson knows that there are plenty of players, even if not the marquee names, in this year’s free agency that can still help improve his roster. Nevertheless, despite the Knicks not believed to be appealing to most of the top free agents, Phil Jackson will surely try to put his Knicks in the position for some kind of miracle work.