New York Knicks part company with Phil Jackson, eye Raptors Nigerian GM Masai Ujiri Basketball | Nigeria sports news, transfers & gossips

New York Knicks part company with Phil Jackson, eye Raptors Nigerian GM Masai Ujiri

The New York Knicks have parted company with president of basketball operations Phil Jackson.

His departure had been anticipated with reports claiming owner James Dolan had become increasingly concerned about the team’s long-term direction and Jackson’s fitness to lead the organisation.

In Jackson’s three seasons as team president, the Knicks are 80-166, falling a long way short of what Dolan would have expected from a coach who racked up 11 NBA titles following a playing career in which he starred in New York.

Feuds with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis have not helped Jackson’s standing in New York, with rumours suggesting he was looking to get rid of at least one of that star duo.

A statement from Dolan read: “After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction. 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. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive.

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“While we are currently evaluating how best to move forward regarding the leadership of the organisation, I will not be involved in the operation of the team. Steve Mills, the team’s general manager, will run the day-to-day business of the organisation over the short term. Tim Leiweke, who brings tremendous expertise and experience in sports franchise management from both Toronto and Los Angeles and is our partner in the Oak View Group, will advise and work with Steve on an interim basis to help develop a go-forward plan.”

“The New York Knicks will always hold a special place in my heart,” Jackson said. “This team and this town launched my NBA career. I will forever be indebted to them. I am grateful to Mr. Dolan for giving me the opportunity to return here.

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“I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren’t able to do that. New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organisation all the best – today and always.”

The Knicks are reported to be targeting Toronto’s Masai Ujiri to replace Phil Jackson as president. Ujiri has served as the Toronto Raptors’ GM and president of basketball operations since 2013 having previously worked as the executive vice president of the Denver Nuggets.

As a front office member in Denver, Ujiri won the NBA’s Executive of the Year award in 2013.

He received an extension from the Raptors in 2016 after making moves to lead the team to second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors finished third in the East last season, compiling a 51-31 record, which matched the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers.


Ajike is one of Nigeria's top Sportscasters with over 15 years of experience in writing and talking Sports.

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