Report: Knicks owner James Dolan, Phil Jackson disagree on staff firings

Wednesday April 23rd, 2014

Might there already be trouble in paradise between James Dolan (left) and Phil Jackson? (James Devaney/Getty Images) Might there already be trouble in paradise between James Dolan (left) and Phil Jackson? (James Devaney/Getty Images)

Only a month into his tenure as Knicks president, Phil Jackson has already reportedly clashed with Knicks owner/chairman James Dolan over personnel decisions, according to Frank Isola's report in the New York Daily News on Wednesday.

After firing coach Mike Woodson on Monday, Jackson was reportedly "looking to remove several staff members, which is commonplace when a new administration takes over," according to Isola, citing a team source.

But Dolan opposed removing certain employees.

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Writes Isola: "According to the source, Dolan’s reaction to Jackson’s request was to tell the 11-time NBA championship coach to simply focus his attention on building a winning team. To say that 'minor friction,' as one Garden source called it, can be classified as Jackson’s honeymoon with Dolan being over may be stretching it a bit.

"But at the very least it proves that Dolan — surprise, surprise — wasn’t being entirely truthful last month when he claimed he was 'willingly and gratefully' giving up control of the basketball decisions to Jackson, the Hall of Fame coach.

After signing Jackson to a five-year, $60 million deal, Dolan said the 68-year-old will be in charge of all basketball decisions.

It's unclear which staffers Jackson wanted to dismiss, but it is most likely personnel from the medical staff, front office and/or media relations, according to Isola.

Isola reported on Tuesday that Steve Kerr, who is the likely frontrunner for the Knicks' head coaching job, is interested in the job but is also wary of the culture promoted by Dolan at Madison Square Garden.

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