Phil Jackson used an interesting word to describe his rookie year as an NBA executive and his first time trying to build a team. He called it an "experiment" and admitted it has been a flop.
"So far, my experiment has fallen flat on its face," Jackson told The New York Times.
The Knicks' record -- 10-39 after Tuesday night's 108-97 loss to the Celtics at the Garden -- proves that Jackson is off to a rough start as team president.
He signed a five-year deal last March, so Jackson has the time and the resources to change things. But he won't change his approach much as he continues to pledge his allegiance to the triangle offense.
Jackson will try to find players who complement Carmelo Anthony and fit the triangle, and said he might not necessarily chase stars.
Yet Kevin Durant is expected to be the Knicks' top target in the summer of 2016. Jackson won a record 11 NBA titles as a coach, with players named Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
"You do need great players to win the championship," Jackson said. "But having to always chase the best talent in free agency eventually becomes a mind-set of, well, the best talent wins as opposed to who plays the best team basketball.
"We're not going to punch all the right buttons . . . But we're looking for multiple talents, drive, intelligence, guys that will play defense. We hope to develop a team, and there are a lot of agents out there looking to find a good spot for their players."
Jackson expedited the rebuild and cleared cap room when he traded J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland last month. The Knicks could have about $30 million for this summer's free-agent class topped by Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge. But they're expected to re-sign with their respective teams. Greg Monroe and Goran Dragic might be more realistic candidates. The Knicks want to maintain flexibility for 2016. Durant hits the market and the salary cap will increase markedly because the new television deal kicks in.
Jackson is a Hall of Fame coach but he hasn't proven he's a shrewd talent evaluator as an executive.
He acquired Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and the draft rights to Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo from Dallas for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.
Even though Chandler is having a solid season in Dallas, Jackson said he doesn't regret the trade because he didn't see him as a fit for the triangle.
But Dalembert and Ellington are gone. Early barely plays, and Antetokounmpo is in the D-League. The Knicks declined Larkin's option for next season, and they've been trying to move Calderon, who hasn't impacted the team or been as proficient in the triangle as Jackson expected. "My guesswork, my anticipation in that regard, was kind of eye-opening for me," Jackson said.
The Knicks have been playing better lately, but their four-game home winning streak was snapped Tuesday night. Anthony scored 21 points. Avery Bradley led Boston with 26.
Jackson said he had dinner with Anthony last month in London and told him he wants him to be "a mentor, a teacher" and he could be even more effective as he gets older. "I wanted him to understand that it wasn't going to be the usual renovation, adding another story to the house, and we're just starting this process," Jackson said.
"We know what's going on with our salary cap. We're going to be in a position the next couple of years where we'll be blessed."
Anthony struggled to remember the conversation, but then said it gave him "more confidence as a player just to be able to look forward to what we're trying to create here and what we're going to create here."
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision.
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