Phil Jackson: If Knicks Continue to Stink Up the Garden, It’s His Mess

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares NEW YORK — Phil Jackson offered a mea culpa for the New York Knicks’ awful first half of the season but said he’s doing what’s best for the franchise’s future.Days after trading away two of the team’s best players and getting little in return, Jackson asked fans not to blame coach Derek Fisher because what’s shaping up as the worst season in franchise history is his responsibility.The Knicks entered Saturday’s game against Charlotte with an NBA-worst 5-34 record and on the longest single-season skid in team history— 14 straight games.“In anticipating that we were going to be better, that we were giving hope to our fans that maybe there was a possible playoff opportunity here, that goes on me,” Jackson said. “That we have to now take responsibility and move forward and make things happen, that also goes on me and now I have to do the job that I was brought in to do.”Jackson had said before his first full season as the team’s president of basketball operations that he thought the Knicks were capable of contending for a playoff spot, but now says that “they obviously weren’t.”But Jackson, part of two championship teams with the Knicks as a player and a title-winning coach with the Lakers and Bulls, insisted he’s making moves that could turn around a franchise that hasn’t won since that second title in 1973.“We’re going through this period of time and for some of the people that have been fans of this team have told me many times that there’s been this impression that maybe the team should blow it up and should start over again and it’s never happened,” Jackson said. “It’s always been going after the next big star.“We kept searching for the big star to change our fortunes which has never happened in the last 45 years or so, so reality is that this is probably the best way to go about the business and to begin and to restart and do it the right way and put it together in a way that really makes sense.”Jackson traded guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland this week in a three-team deal that could leave the Knicks with more than $25 million in salary cap space next summer. Jackson said he hopes to bring in five to six new players next season.He acknowledged making the wrong decisions on the team he put together this season, though he was hamstrung for financial reasons. He may not be done making moves, saying the Knicks could be active at next month’s trade deadline.“I just think that no one should be surprised in what we do from here on out,” Jackson said.Jackson, who won an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach, praised Fisher for remaining optimistic and keeping the team’s future goals in mind. He also spoke highly of All-Star Carmelo Anthony, who hopes to return soon from a sore left knee.But he might be one of the few Knicks who is still around next season. Jackson said this season’s group didn’t learn the team’s triangle offense as quickly as he hoped, necessitating some of the moves he’s made and the next search for talent.Jackson said that he’s lost some sleep trying to figure out ways to improve the Knicks, but believes it will happen. He said Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, who gave Jackson his first chance to be a team executive in March, has remained supportive.“We hope we’re on the right track, even though this isn’t the track we anticipated,” Jackson said.BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writerlast_img read more

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‘We are good mates’: David Warner denies talk of rift with Steve Smith

first_imgDavid Warner has stressed that he is still great friends with former Australian captain and Steve Smith as he refuted rumours of a rift between the pair in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.Warner opened up about his relation with Smith after making a return to professional cricket in Canada’s Global Twenty20 league.”Steve and me are good mates. If people hang in the hotel, they’ll see us hanging out with each other and stuff. At the end of the day, it was a big thing that happened and for us, you’ve got to handle it in your individual way and then how you handle it collectively,” Warner said here.A day after Smith made 61 on his return to cricket in the same tournament, Warner was bowled by Lasith Malinga’s second ball in a far briefer stint at the batting crease.It was Warner’s first match since he was banned alongside Smith and Cameron Bancroft by Cricket Australia in March for conspiring to scuff up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.The return ,however, just lasted just two balls as the former Australia vice-captain was dismissed for one run.Opening for the Winnipeg Hawks, Warner was clean-bowled by Lasith Malinga’s first ball of the second over.Australian Ben McDermott top-scored with 68 runs as Winnipeg scored 203-4 to beat the Montreal Tigers (157 all out in 18.5 overs) by 46 runs.Warner, a former vice-captain of the national team, added, “We haven’t really been able to catch up because he’s (Smith) been away, Cameron’s (been in Perth and I’ve been doing what I’m doing and got family at home. So it’s been hard, but this has been good, we’ve had numerous chats and I’m sure we’ll hang out plenty more, we’re in the same hotel.”advertisementCA’s ban does not extend to domestic tournaments outside Australia, which allowed Smith and Warner to play in Canada.Life, post the ball-tampering controversy and the subsequent ban, has been tough for his whole family, Warner said.”It definitely has been (tough), not just for me but for my family, obviously the fans out there that support cricket and Australian cricket, so I’m responsible for that, that’s my fault and why I’ve had some tough times,” Warner said.”But I’m an adult, I’m big, strong, I’ll move forward and keep continuing to move forward and making sure I’m doing the right things at the right times to keep playing the best cricket I can.”Reports had previously claimed that the Australian dressing room was left divided after Warner stormed out of the team’s WhatsApp group after Cricket Australia’s Integrity Unit concluded he was the architect of the ball-tampering controversy.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

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