Phil Jackson (149790)

Depending on the lens through which one views the Knicks’ transactions thus far this summer, opinions will be mixed. Some fans have called for a declaration of DEFCON 1 as they perceive Knicks President Phil Jackson’s maneuvers, or lack thereof, as disastrous.

Conversely, there are many who think the signings of big men Robin Lopez, Derrick Williams and Queens native Kyle O’ Quinn, as well as guard Arron Afflalo, are prudent additions of veterans that are foundational pieces to a much larger puzzle.

Inarguably, those free‑agent signings, in addition to drafting Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in last month’s draft, have little sizzle. And the plausible trepidation among the legions of Knicks faithful is they may not yield much meat either over the next three years or so, which is the window for Carmelo Anthony to be a player around whom a title contender can be constructed.

The Knicks will be better next season because it is nearly unimaginable that they can be worse. Going 17-65 last season, the worst in the franchise’s history, was a sacrifice for the future. But how bright is the Knicks’ prospects for sustained success—meaning at minimum being a realistic contender for the Eastern Conference title for the better part of a decade—if they don’t have multiple All-Stars dotting their roster, as all contenders have?

After whiffing on LeMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan, two of the NBA’s best frontcourt players last week in free agency, Jackson has yet to prove he can lure the game’s premiere talent to his team. Whereas many of critics of “Action Jackson” assert that it is the much-debated triangle offense that is the major impediment, what’s really at issue is stars seeing a roster that can’t compete with the game’s elite teams.

It’s a catch-22 for Jackson, and one that won’t be easily resolved.