NEW YORK » Phil Jackson, who won 11 NBA championships as a coach and is one of the league’s most admired figures, has agreed to return to the New York Knicks to head the team’s front office.
The Knicks are scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday to announce his appointment as the team’s new president, according to a person in the NBA familiar with the discussions. A Knicks spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
Jackson, 68, who was a part of the Knicks’ championship era as a player in the early 1970s, has unrivaled credentials as a coach: six titles with the Chicago Bulls and five more with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has the highest winning percentage for a coach in league history (.705), along with the most playoff victories (229). He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
But he has never held a position in a front office, let alone run one, and his first project is a doozy: resuscitate the Knicks after years of mismanagement.
Despite having the league’s second-highest payroll, the Knicks have labored to a 26-40 record ahead of Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden. Though their current five-game winning streak has kept them in contention for a playoff spot, the Knicks are still in danger of missing out on the postseason for the seventh time in the last 10 years.