One of the biggest knocks James Dolan received when hiring Phil Jackson was that Jackson was so entrenched in Los Angeles that he'd never fully embrace living in New York.
Well, a source close to the 11-time, NBA Championship-winning coach recently told me that Phil is relishing his role with the Knicks and his time in New York.
"Phil spends most of his time during the week at the practice facility watching film with guys like Derrick Rose," the source said. "He's there 6-to-7 days a week and stays late. He loves his job."
Jackson recently announced that he and his fiancee, Lakers President Jeanie Buss, had broken off their engagement, which I'm told dates back to the summer time. Phil's focus on building the Knicks into a title contender seems to have played a big role, further explaining his commitment to his current franchise.
Another relationship that Jackson is working hard to build is with his franchise player Carmelo Anthony, who the source says has also been distant.
I'm told that last year Phil and Carmelo were tight but this year it's been different. Phil would like to see Anthony prepare more like Rose, who has been a total gym rat and has been fully-focused on improving his game, which has impressed Knicks brass.
Recently, Phil was a bit bothered by Anthony's decision to make the trip out west and then sit for the Golden State game when he could have spent that time back in New York resting and getting treatment without the stress that goes along with traveling.
Jackson has openly been working the trade front as well, I'm told. He's recently engaged in talks with teams who have made players available, like the Atlanta Hawks, who are reportedly on the verge of trading sharp shooter Kyle Korver to the World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jackson has resisted trading assets like first round picks to this point, but it's clear he's committed to improving the team -- especially defensively -- and may do so well before the February 23 trade deadline. An obvious name that has recently surfaced is veteran P.J. Tucker, who Jeff Hornacek coached in Phoenix.
As the Knicks head into Milwaukee for a rematch with the Bucks, it's clear their president's commitment level to improving them is high, which is all you can ask for as a player. Trade rumors have a way of creating negative energy around the team so I'd expect Jackson to act swiftly when the right deal presents itself.
The team has played well when their big 3 of Anthony, Rose and Kristaps Porzingis is all healthy, so if they can get Porzingis back they should be able to crawl back to .500 over the next few weeks.
Knicks fans hope that starts Friday night at the Bradley Center.