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posted: 3/21/2014 5:18 AM

Jackson has arrow pointing up for struggling Knicks

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  • Will Phil Jackson, now in charge of the New York Knicks as team president, be able to convince Carmelo Anthony, left, to stay with the franchise?

      Will Phil Jackson, now in charge of the New York Knicks as team president, be able to convince Carmelo Anthony, left, to stay with the franchise?
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

I watched the Phil Jackson news conference to see what the New York Knicks were getting for $12 million a year.

What I heard was a sound-thinking guy finally getting a chance to run his own operation.

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While it still has to happen on the court, I don't believe it's a coincidence the Knicks recently won their seventh game in a row. Their winning streak just happens to match up with the events leading to the signing of Jackson as Knicks president.

I believe it's a player's league, but it remains strongly influenced by the people that run the front offices and coach the teams.

I think Jackson must agree, judging by the praise he gave former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause during his new conference when he comments that he would use Krause as an example on how he ran the Bulls.

Let's make no mistake, however, it's all about the players -- first, last and foremost. Jackson was astute enough to say he wanted Carmelo Anthony's game to go to another level -- obviously a veiled comment -- suggesting he is a good talent but not playing the way he can and should.

But Phil knows how important the players are to a coach. Just think how much better the Philadelphia 76ers' coach, the beleaguered Brett Brown, would be if his team acquired Kevin Durant? They would no longer be one of the worst teams ever assembled.

Does that mean Brown becomes a better coach? No, just a guy with better talent.

The challenge facing Jackson as the top dog in New York centers on Anthony. Can Jackson get him to perform in a lesser, but still important, role without bruising Carmelo's ego?

Phil's the guy who can get that done.

I've never been a Phil Jackson guy, and while I don't believe he's the greatest coach of all time, he's clearly the most decorated coach.

But -- surprise, surprise -- I'm rooting for him because he deserves the shot.

Phil was thinking just like the rest of us do. Given an opportunity, all of us think we could run an organization or business better than the guy in charge.

I just think Jackson has been waiting for this chance since his days in Chicago and his time with the Los Angeles Lakers.

There was another window for him with Seattle when they almost secured a franchise, but once that fell through there was only one opportunity left with the Knicks.

I see it as a good marriage, and if Jackson said no to this deal, he was probably just going to fade away.

So now the job begins. I will make a prediction: look for Kevin Love to draw keen interest from Jackson and the Knicks down the line. Jackson will sink or swim with the personnel he acquires, but just by his association, the Knicks' arrow is now pointing up.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio. Catch my show from 7-11 a.m. Sundays, and check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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