Report: Phil Jackson won't opt out of Knicks contract, might re-sign in 2019

Phil Jackson not only wants to stay president of the New York Knicks until the end of his five-year contract, he might want to sign a new deal in 2019, according to Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding. This is the strongest rebuttal to the never-ending rumors about Jackson potentially using his opt-out clause after this season and leaving for the Los Angeles Lakers.

From Bleacher Report:

Jackson fully intends to finish the two years after this season on his Knicks contract, according to NBA sources. Despite all the attention on his opt-out clause in 2017, he might even want to do a new deal that starts in 2019.

Jackson's competitive fire is fully aflame now that the Knicks are on the upswing--they are 14-11 and have won 11 of their past 16 games entering Thursday night against the Golden State Warriors--but it's more than just feeling better about his work.

Jackson has settled into life away from Los Angeles and fiancee Jeanie Buss, exploring the varied non-basketball interests to which New York caters. Jackson is connecting over lively card games or stimulating dinner conversations with friends who knew him before he was famous, feeling the energy of the city.

Phil Jackson and Bill Bradley at MSG
A couple of Knicks. USATSI

Well, this is a new one. The Orange County Register's Mark Heisler reported just a few weeks ago that Jackson's situation in New York was "fluid," and that the rest of this season would determine whether or not he wants to stick around and whether or not owner James Dolan wants him to. This paints a completely different, much sunnier picture.

The Knicks have won six of eight games. Their 14-11 record is enough for third in the Eastern Conference. Even after a two-point loss to the Phoenix Suns in overtime on Tuesday, it's easy to be optimistic about the franchise right now. The more interesting question is where everything stands at the end of the season. If their shaky defense doesn't improve, they could take a dip in the standings, and the perception of the team can shift extremely quickly in New York.

It's significant, though, that Ding reported Jackson is loving where he's living. While he has history in New York, the rumors of a return to the Lakers have always been tied to the belief that he'd rather spend most of his time in Los Angeles, with his fiancee, instead of on the other side of the country. This suggests otherwise.

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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