Phil Jackson

Why Steve Kerr hasn't called Phil Jackson to talk Warriors' struggles

Why Steve Kerr hasn't called Phil Jackson to talk Warriors' struggles

Steve Kerr has learned a lot from Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson over the years, and still considers the "Zen Master" one of his mentors.

But as the Warriors coach continues to navigate this difficult season, he won't be leaning on Jackson for advice.

"Phil doesn’t know anything about a losing team," Kerr recently told Mark Medina of USA Today Sports, before laughing. "So there’s no point in calling him."

Jackson -- who won 11 NBA titles with the Bulls (six) and Lakers (five) -- never experienced a losing campaign in 20 seasons as an NBA head coach.

He boasts a regular season record of 1155 wins and 485 losses, and a playoff record of 229 wins and 104 losses.

Over his first five years with Golden State, Kerr's win percentage was even higher -- as he went 322-88 (.805) during the regular season and 77-28 (.733) in the postseason.

But the Warriors are 2-12 this season, and it's not crazy to think they could finish with the worst record in the league.

So while Kerr's win-loss mark is going to take a hit, it might end up helping in the long run if the Warriors secure a top-three pick in the 2020 draft.

[RELATEDTop NBA draft prospect LaMelo Ball is a big fan of Steph]

“The goal is to try to win every game," Kerr told Medina. "The reality is we’re not (doing) enough to do so right now. The other stuff, we don’t control. Whatever happens, happens.

"Our goal is to go out there and try to perform our best every night, get better and try to build something positive.”

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Warriors' Klay Thompson reveals what Phil Jackson said about injury rehab

Warriors' Klay Thompson reveals what Phil Jackson said about injury rehab

Klay Thompson is not looking forward to missing a large chunk of the 2019-20 regular season.

The Warriors' All-Star shooting guard doesn't want to take a deep breath after five straight trips to the NBA Finals. He just wants to hoop with his teammates and try to win a championship.

This mindset is why he greatly respects what legendary coach Phil Jackson said to him recently at a restaurant in Los Angeles.

“First thing he asked was, ‘How’s the knee?'" Klay explained to Marcus Thompson of The Athletic. "Then he goes, ‘I had to take a year off. It was awful.’ I thought that was hilarious.

"Man, this dude is a real hooper for life. He wasn’t like, ‘Ahhh. You’re going to enjoy the time off, blah, blah, blah.’ He was like, ‘A year off was terrible.’ That’s funny. This dude’s a real one for that.

"Then he asked me about family in the Bahamas. It was cool chopping it up with Phil.”

Cool, indeed.

[RELATEDKlay discusses what he knows will be hardest part of rehab]

Jackson played in the NBA from 1967 to 1980, but missed the entire 1969-70 campaign because of a back injury.

He went on to win 11 NBA titles as a head coach -- including five with the Lakers, the team Klay grew up rooting for.

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Knicks, Phil Jackson part ways

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AP

Knicks, Phil Jackson part ways

NEW YORK -- Phil Jackson is out as New York Knicks president after he oversaw one of the worst eras in team history and feuded with star Carmelo Anthony.

Days after Jackson reiterated his desire to trade Anthony and said he would listen to deals for Kristaps Porzingis, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan reversed course and cut ties with Jackson on Wednesday.

"After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction," Dolan said in a statement. "Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched."

But his work as a first-time executive was awful. The winner of an NBA-record 11 championships as coach, Jackson couldn't engineer one playoff berth while running the Knicks. The team was 80-166 in his three full seasons, including a franchise-worst 17-65 in 2014-15. His departure was quickly welcomed by Knicks fans such as film director Spike Lee, who posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a celebratory pose after it was first reported by The Vertical.

The move comes less than a week after Jackson led the Knicks through the NBA draft and on the eve of free agency that opens Saturday. Dolan said general manager Steve Mills would run the day-to-day business of the team in the short term.

Jackson was a Hall of Fame coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, delivering titles with some of the game's biggest stars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. He also played for the Knicks when they won NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.

He was welcomed back to the organization to huge fanfare in March 2014, but it soon became clear the transition would be a poor one. His first coaching hire, Derek Fisher, lasted just 1½ seasons, and Jackson's trades and free agency moves also failed to improve the club.

"I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren't able to do that," Jackson said. "New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best - today and always."

The turbulence he created off the court may have led to his departure more than the Knicks' record on it.

Jackson wanted to trade Anthony, the All-Star forward who has two years left on the five-year, $124 million deal that Jackson gave him shortly after taking the job. Anthony has a no-trade clause and has said he wants to stay in New York, and the stalemate that hung over the team for much of last season threatened to linger throughout the summer.

Then he said before the draft that he was listening to offers for Porzingis, the 21-year-old forward from Latvia whom Jackson drafted with the No. 4 pick in 2015 in one of his few successful moves.

Jackson believed the Knicks would compete for a playoff berth last season after he traded for Derrick Rose, signed Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee and hired Jeff Hornacek to coach. But after a solid start, they quickly spiraled toward their familiar position at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and finished 31-51.

Despite all that, Dolan said during an ESPN Radio interview in February that he would allow Jackson to finish his contract, and the sides picked up the mutual two-year option on Jackson's contract.

But the instability involving Anthony and Porzingis threatened to damage the team's ability to lure free agents and may have spurred Dolan's decision. Though he had been intent on keeping Jackson, the dysfunction within the franchise showed no sign of ending even as Jackson, 71, largely stayed out of sight.

He never spoke to the media last season after vowing openness upon taking the job and refused to provide Anthony with the communication he sought.

"It's like a total train wreck ," tennis great and Knicks fan John McEnroe told The Associated Press last week.

"I mean, he's known as the Zen Master, like a master talker, and then he's not talking to anybody," McEnroe said of Jackson. "So this whole thing seems to have gone completely off the rails."

There was also incessant debate about Jackson's insistence that the team employ the triangle offense, which potential incoming players were schooled on during the run-up to last week's NBA draft. The Knicks wound up taking 18-year-old French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who spoke highly of the triangle and Jackson's belief in the scheme.

"I think I can definitely fit with this system," Ntilikina said on draft night.

Not even a week later, the triangle is probably gone, and the Knicks will start anew.

Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, will be a free agent. Noah - whom Jackson gave a puzzling four-year, $72 million contract last summer - will start the season by finishing out a 20-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy. He averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in his first season in New York, shooting just 44 percent from the foul line.