The New York Knicks have seemingly been in a rebuilding project for years. After days and weeks of drama, the Knicks finally introduced their newest architect on March 18. Phil Jackson won six championship coaching the Chicago Bulls and five coaching the Los Angeles Lakers, yet New York will settle for getting just one with him as team president.
First and foremost, however, Jackson has to make the Knicks a winning team again and help settle Carmelo Anthony's fate. But in his first press conference, Jackson declared that making New York a champion would be "a capstone" on his record-setting career.
Given how the Bulls and Lakers of old had much more solid foundations before Jackson came in than the current Knicks do now, winning big in New York might well be the achievement of his career. He has at least five years to make it happen, as his new deal will pay him $12 million in each of those years regardless.
A leap could be made that Jackson's already made a difference, as the Knicks have started winning ever since the rumors of his takeover started. New York now holds a six-game winning streak and is in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, despite still being four-and-a-half games back for the last playoff spot.
Fortunes can change quick in New York, as last year's Knicks were riding high towards an Atlantic Division title, only to fall apart and make room for Jackson months later. But the one constant for the Knicks is their lack of a championship, as they still haven't won one since 1973 -- when Jackson actually played for New York.
Another more recent constant has been the failure of owner James Dolan, who has poisoned the Knicks with terrible moves over the last decade. As such, Dolan's vow to stay out of Jackson's way was a necessary sacrifice, with Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski writing that Dolan "has to understand that he's out of the game for good."
The Knicks are Jackson's responsibility now -- and given how he has succeeded on every level in his basketball career, it would be all the more glaring if this was his one failure. Is New York cursed enough to let that happen, or will this be his greatest triumph of all?