ESPN reports that as Phil Jackson prepares to start actually making moves as the new head of basketbal operations for the New York Knicks, he's planning on hiring a GM to handle day-to-day operations and negotiating, while moving Steve Mills to a business position. And current interim Cavs GM David Griffin could be the guy.
Said one source close to the situation: "Phil knows he needs a good young executive in there who can make deals and really knows the (salary cap)."
Far less obvious at this juncture, though, is the list of candidates Jackson plans to choose from.
The most qualified executive from Jackson's very small circle of NBA pals is former Phoenix Suns personnel boss Steve Kerr. But Kerr has made it clear he wants to coach in the NBA, as opposed to GM-ing, if he decides to leave television.
One of the latest theories in circulation, among rivals coaches and executives, suggests that Jackson will lean on Kerr for guidance if Kerr indeed winds up replacing Woodson. And that would presumably thrust a longtime Kerr associate such as Cleveland Cavaliers acting general manager David Griffin into the mix.
Yet it's also widely believed that Jackson wants to put off any searching, even for a new right-hand man in the executive suite, until after this season plays out. The Knicks, after all, badly want to snag the East's No. 8 seed if they can manage it. And Jackson would presumably prefer not to create anything resembling a distraction that the Knicks could point to as an excuse if they start backsliding again.
Note: This post was from Friday night. Spoiler alert: The Knicks started backsliding again.
Griffin has a long established history in the league, dating back 21 years. He carries a good reputation and fits the professional profile. It wouldn't be a bad fit, if a little bit cliquish between Jackson, Kerr, and Griffin, after Jackson basically ended the CAA influence over the Knicks in taking over.
Would Griffin want to leave Cleveland? It's hard to say with the amount of drama that's followed the team this year. Additionally, this is more "informed speculation" than a legitimate report of interest from the Knicks. New York's realistically a long way off from making a formal announcement.
And if Griffin is involved, what will Jackson do for the enormous payday he's owed? That's a singlarly interesting question and one that may never get answered. No matter what he does, the Knicks' success or (continued) failure will be on him.