Lost in the process of Phil Jackson's vacation and the search for the Knicks next head coach have been several messages from Jackson's fiancée Jeannie Buss about The Zen Master's future with the Knicks.
He's here to stay.
Buss first went public shooting down the idea that Jackson has eyes on a reunion in Los Angeles with Buss and the Lakers during a podcast with Sam Amick of USA Today during All-Star break in Toronto. She reiterated the idea that Phil is in New York to finish the job of building a perennial title contender the other day to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN when asked about the idea of Phil bolting the Knicks for the Lakers.
"No," Buss said, "To visit, yes..but in terms of basketball, he's committed to New York for many years. He's building something there. He has a mission, he's on that journey to get the team back to where he believes it can be and it will be. He's a former Knick...he loves New York."
I have heard that Phil is enjoying New York and his role with the franchise. Between huddling up with former teammates like Bill Bradley or watching New York Rangers practices at the team's facility in Tarrytown, Jackson has fully embraced the job and has been "re-energized" by the presence of Kristaps Porzingis.
Jackson has faced tremendous heat from fans and the media on a local and national level for the team's record in his first two years as a first-time executive. What the Knicks organization has lacked over the past 15 years, a stretch that has seen them win just one playoff series, is someone with the perseverance to look beyond their short term issues and with a larger - more sustainable outlook for the franchise. Jackson has brought this to the organization in a big way and it is believed he will remain in New York for the duration of his five-year deal.
That is, unless owner Jim Dolan usurps Jackson's authority, in which case I believe Jackson would resign immediately.
With Jackson in tow and with the hiring of Jeff Hornacek likely to be done this week, the Knicks now turn their focus on trying to bring more talent into the organization. Don't be surprised to see Jackson land yet another draft pick, something he's been adept in doing in his first two years here, and attempting to package it with a bigger contract (Robin Lopez?) for help in the back court. Jeff Teague is a name that has been atop the list of potential players who could be acquired via trade as the Hawks could shop him on draft night after reportedly feeling out suitors at the trade deadline.
Jackson has never been without talent long during his career as a head coach and as the Knicks head into year three of his era as an executive it's by far the team's biggest need, especially in the backcourt. Hornacek is a coach who will want to push the pace, something that the Knicks lacked in an big way this past season.