The basketball revolution will be tweeted.
Former Knicks point guard Greg Anthony broke the news of the Knicks’ hire of 11-time NBA championship-winning coach Phil Jackson for a front office position last night. “@nyknicks it’s official @PhilJackson11 will be joining the Knicks! This move will go a long way in revamping the culture of this franchise!,” tweeted the former Knick and current Turner Sports broadcaster. The homecoming deal will reportedly pay the former Knicks player $15 million annually and allow him to live for much of the year in California. The team has yet to make it official but star players such as Carmelo Anthony have already welcomed the news on social media.
As a once-proud East Coast franchise celebrated its reboot on Twitter, an icon of a seen-better-days West Coast franchise lamented his team’s dysfunction.
“I love Jim & Jeanie Buss,” Hall of Famer Magic Johnson tweeted. “but we need Phil Jackson to be the face of our great organization, the Los Angeles Lakers.” The former Lakers point guard questioned who the face of the organization was in a subsequent message, obliquely referencing the power struggle between siblings Jim and Jeanie Buss. “In signing Phil Jackson Owner Jim Dolan & Steve Mills are saying to the Knicks fans they’re ready to win now!” Johnson tweeted. As if the soap opera needed anymore drama, Phil Jackson is engaged to Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss.
The current face of the Lakers was even more unleashed in his criticism of management. “Oh yeah, let’s just play next year and let’s just suck again,” Bryant explained. “No. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. It’s my job to go out there on the court and perform. No excuses for it. Right? You got to get things done. It’s the same thing with the front office. The same expectations they have of me when I perform on the court is the same expectations I have for them up there.” The words come from a veteran who can count the sands left in his hourglass. This isn’t Jerry West’s Lakers or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Lakers or Shaquille O’Neal’s Lakers. This is Pau Gasaol’s Lakers, a soft, moderately talented squad capable of beating the Oklahoma City Thunder three nights after embarrassing themselves at the hands of the Clippers by 48 points. Kobe Bryant wants to win now because he has no later left.
Bryant’s comments came on the same day of the announcement that he would not play again during the 2013-2014 season. The five-time champion had signed a two-year, $48 million contract extension prior to this season in which he played in six games. That’s $4 million a game so far for anyone bad at math.
The Knicks, currently in the ninth spot in the East, appear firmly entrenched on the outside looking in to the playoff picture. The Lakers remain the second worst team in the West. The former team rebuilds; the latter implodes. With a quickly aging team leader in Bryant, just four players under contract for next season, and ownership in disarray, the Lakers are quickly becoming the new Clippers.