Phil Jackson Confirms New York Knicks Departure, Admitting 'Deep Disappointment'

Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks officially parted ways on Wednesday in what team owner James Dolan described as a "mutual decision."

A report earlier in the day by ESPN had claimed the atmosphere inside the Knicks' front office had grown "toxic," with those around Dolan asking him to fire Jackson. The Knicks face a testing offseason over the question of whether to trade, buy out or keep all-star Carmelo Anthony.

"The New York Knicks will always hold a special place in my heart," Jackson said in a statement published on the Knicks' website. "This team and this town launched my NBA career. I will forever be indebted to them. I am grateful to Mr. Dolan for giving me the opportunity to return here.

"I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren't able to do that. New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best—today and always."

Jackson played for 11 seasons with the Knicks after he was picked from North Dakota in the second round in 1967.

He coached the legendary Michael Jordan–led Chicago Bulls for nine years from 1989 to 1998 before taking charge of the Los Angeles Lakers team that three-peated between 2000 and 2002. Jackson won 11 NBA Championships as a head coach but his presidency in New York has been less successful.

The Knicks failed to make the playoffs during Jackson's tenure as president of basketball operations and lost 51 times last season amid uncertainty around the future of Anthony and 2015 first-round pick Kristaps Porzingis.

"Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive," Dolan said.