Phil Jackson wanted to trade Carmelo Anthony and wouldn’t rule out dealing Kristaps Porzingis.
Turns out, Jackson is the one leaving.
Jackson is out as New York Knicks president after he oversaw one of the worst eras in team history, with the team saying in a statement Wednesday that they had “mutually agreed to part company.”
Days after Jackson reiterated his desire to move Anthony and said he would listen to deals for Porzingis, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan reversed course and cut ties with Jackson with two years remaining on his contract.
“After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction,” Dolan said. “Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched.”
But his work as a first-time executive was awful. The winner of an NBA-record 11 championships as coach, Jackson couldn’t engineer one playoff berth while running the Knicks. The team was 80-166 in his three full seasons, including a franchise-worst 17-65 in 2014-15.
His departure was quickly welcomed by Knicks fans such as film director Spike Lee, who posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a celebratory pose after it was first reported by The Vertical.
The move comes less than a week after Jackson led the Knicks through the NBA draft and on the eve of free agency that opens Saturday. Dolan said he would not be involved in the operation of the team, adding that General Manager Steve Mills would run the day-to-day business in the short term and that former Toronto executive Tim Leiweke would advise him and help develop a plan going forward.
Jackson was a Hall of Fame coach with the Chicago Bulls and Lakers, delivering titles with some of the game’s biggest stars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. He also played for the Knicks when they won NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.
He was welcomed back to…