The New York Knicks and Phil Jackson have “mutually agreed to part company,” the team announced in a statement on Wednesday morning.
Earlier, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical had reported that owner James Dolan was expected to let Jackson go.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN had confirmed the report.
“The New York Knicks are planning to part ways with embattled President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson later this morning,” Wojnarowski wrote. “Owner James Dolan has been weighing Jackson’s future role running the franchise … Dolan and Jackson, 71, talked about the possibility of a parting on Tuesday, league sources told The Vertical.”
Jackson has two years and $24 million remaining on his contract. According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, Jackson was paid $60 million during his tenure with the Knicks.
“After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction,” Dolan said in a statement. “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.”
Jackson was hired as team president in 2014, and the team has since gone 90-171 with no playoff appearances.
The tumultuous reign of Jackson as the Knicks’ president was seemingly spiraling even more out of control in recent months. Jackson sparred with Carmelo Anthony publicly, appearing to be pushing his star player out the door. There were also recent reports that Jackson was strongly considering a trade of Kristaps Porzingis after the fan favorite skipped an end-of-season exit meeting with Jackson out of frustration over what Porzingis saw as “dysfunction” and “drama” surrounding the team.
According to Wojnarowski, Dolan had become “increasingly concerned about Jackson’s fitness for the job and the long-term prospects of success for the franchise.”
Jackson was reportedly falling asleep during a recent workout for a draft prospect.
And to make matters worse, all of the perceived dysfunction had made the Knicks “a last resort” for some free agents, something that would have made it impossible for the Knicks to compete in this new era of super teams.