Phil Jackson has done a lot of things since arriving in New York to work his Zen magic on the troubled basketball franchise that plays at Madison Square Garden. Yet three-plus years into Jackson’s gig, the triangle offense remains something a team apparently needs either Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant to run, and Jackson’s Knicks still think of the playoffs the way NASA thinks of Pluto — some day, maybe, they’ll go to that distant rarefied environment.
But one indisputably good thing Jackson’s done in the Knicks job is to draft Kristaps Porzingis, the 7’3″ wingman who drew boos on draft night. What the Knicks haven’t been able to do is make Porzingis, whose skills are top-tier, happy in his very large Knicks uniform. To wit, Porzingis controversially skipped his exit interview with the team after this season, presumably irking Jackson. Despite being the Knicks’ best prospect for future success, Porzingis is a trade target and Jackson is apparently open to the possibility. It’s not an exaggeration to say that a Porzingis trade would close the door on at least the first part of Jackson’s tenure running the Knicks — he’d be cashing in the big chip he earned from the best hand he’s played so far.