The Buss family has discussed if there was a way to make better use of Jackson's abilities and stature. In recent months, there had been more of a willingness and eagerness to engage Jackson and tap into his brilliant basketball mind. But it's been clear to all involved for quite some time that he was never going to get as much power and influence with the Lakers as he will get from New York.
Jackson's dalliance with the Knicks had been going on for months. It took some time for Jackson to finally put pen to paper and choose his final destination, but they've all had a lot of time to digest and make sense of it all.
This has been a long goodbye.
To a legend. To what might have been.
The fans in New York are wary of Jackson and how much he truly wants to be there. How much will he even live in New York? How much work will he have the appetite for? Being a team president isn't just about making decisions, it's about getting on planes and flying to Iowa to watch a Big 12 game or immersing yourself in advanced analytics. It lacks the soul Jackson is always drawn to.
But Jackson's always done things his own way. For all the talk of Zen and the Triangle offense and the way he's able to manage superstars, his genius comes from his ability to create a closed ecosystem around a team. A world where his values and beliefs rule. A bubble where a team can grow.
He is Zeus. He blocks out the sun and the rain. He blunts the noise and the chaos. Which is exactly what the Knicks need right now. So who cares about scouting in Iowa?
They don't know that yet in New York. People in L.A. do, which is why it's so hard to let him go.
The problem for the Lakers is that they haven't really been living in Phil's world these last few years. They've been living under his shadow, and it's had the opposite effect.
Now we'll see what things really look like, and if anything new can grow.