Phil Jackson says not trading for Jae Crowder was his biggest mistake
With Jae Crowder becoming one of the NBA's most improved players in the past couple years, Phil Jackson has come out and said that he regrets not acquiring Crowder via trade when made available by the Mavericks. Via Ian Begley of ESPN.com:
Phil Jackson had a chance to trade for Jae Crowder in 2014 and opted instead to acquire a second-round pick. Jackson calls this decision, which was part of the deal that sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas, his biggest mistake as Knicks team president.
Jackson went into detail talking about a trade with Boston that could have yielded him Crowder or a second round pick. He eventually took the pick which was Cleanthony Early, which he now admits was the wrong choice:
"I don't consider hiring Fish [Derek Fisher] a mistake because he worked hard and got the guys to stay as positive as possible while the losses piled up. I think the biggest mistake I made was actually this. ... One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics.
"In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn't get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo [Anthony], so I took the pick, which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.
First off, Jackson misspoke here because the initial trade was with the Dallas Mavericks, not with Boston until December of 2014. That Tyson Chandler deal took place in June 2014. Otherwise, I would tend to agree with Phil Jackson here. Essentially in a tradeoff, I would much rather have Jae Crowder on my team than Cleanthony Early, who has barely got on the floor in two years with the Knicks. Jackson is right that Crowder would have initially had a hard time getting on the floor with Carmelo Anthony on the team, but I think the two could co-exist in a smaller lineup with Crowder at the three and Carmelo as the four. Thank god that didn't come intro fruition because that would be a very good defensive-offensive wing combo.
As President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks, our good old pal Phil Jackson has done a pretty bad job. I'm not complaining at all that whiffing on a trade with Crowder was one of his mistakes. That proved to work out pretty well for the Celtics as they have one of the best two-way wing players in the league at a bargain contract. While the Knicks seem like they're on the upswing, the Celtics are in a much better position going forward and Crowder has a large part to do with their success.
Best way I could say this is, thank you for being an idiot Phil Jackson. Crowder was a gift for us and we have you to thank for that.
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