NEW YORK – Team president Phil Jackson no longer has sole discretion over the personnel moves of the New York Knicks. He will now share those responsibilities with an ESPN.com web page that was hired by the Knicks today as general manager. ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine, long used by fans to spitball possible trade scenarios, becomes just the latest name from the NBA blogging community to earn a front office position.
“I am excited to work with Trade Machine,” Jackson said in a statement. “I think sometimes it’s smart to take the human element out of decisions, and Trade Machine is as emotionless as it gets. It’s straight numbers. Straight data.”
Trade Machine was contacted about working for the Knicks when team owner James Dolan saw Kristaps Porzingis using the tool on his cell phone in the locker room. An hour later, Dolan announced the deal and had his administrative assistant load the Trade Machine on a desktop computer in a corner office.
“Glad to have you here, Trade Machine,” Dolan said into the empty room. “Excited to see what you can do. Let’s win a championship.”
The 71-year old Jackson said he doesn’t really do “computers or e-mail” and will instead have an intern consult with Trade Machine.
Contacted about the Knicks’ announcement, an ESPN spokesman said the NBA Trade Machine remains active on ESPN.com and the sole property of ESPN.
“However, the Knicks are free to use the web page, same as anyone else,” said the spokesman. “But it’s not their general manager.”