Phil Jackson has given himself the daunting task of trying to turn the New York Knicks into a respectable, winning organization. While he is one of the most respected and successful coaches of all time, he's still relatively new at this whole front office thing, and it certainly hasn't gone perfectly thus far. Even Jackson himself is willing to acknowledge this. He has his own feeling about what his biggest mistake has been after two years on the job. It involves Jae Crowder.
Crowder really broke out for the Boston Celtics last year, emerging as a prototype hybrid forward. Evidently, he could have been a Knick, had Jackson made a different decision. As the Zen Master told Charley Rosen of Today's Fastbreak:
I think the biggest mistake I made was actually this...One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics. In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn't get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo, so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.
Right now, after Crowder's breakout season, it seems crazy to take a second-round pick over Crowder. Even at the time it was not necessarily a great decision, although it was a more justifiable one. However, given that Jackson just traded for Derrick Rose and signed Joakim Noah, there is plenty of time for Jackson to have bigger regrets in the future.
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson looks on against the Denver Nuggets in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
New York Knicks President Phil Jackson takes questions from reporters, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 at the team's practice facility in Elmsford, N.Y. Jackson earlier fired Knicks coach Derek Fisher, with his team having lost five straight and nine of 10 to fall well back in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Associate head coach Kurt Rambis was promoted to interim head coach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York Knicks President Phil Jackson takes questions from reporters, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 at the team's practice facility in Elmsford, N.Y. Jackson earlier fired Knicks coach Derek Fisher, with his team having lost five straight and nine of 10 to fall well back in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Jackson hired his former player in June 2014 shortly after Fisher ended his playing career. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, left, sits next to Phil Jackson, right, president of the New York Knicks, during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Knicks and the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson speaks during a news conference before an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson participates in a news conference in Tarrytown, N.Y., Tuesday, June 10, 2014. The New York Knicks hired Derek Fisher as their new coach on Tuesday, with Phil Jackson turning to one of his trustiest former players. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson watches his team play the Dallas Mavericks in an NBA summer league basketball game Friday, July 11, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Phil Jackson smiles as he is introduced as the new president of the New York Knicks, Tuesday, March 18, 2014 in New York. Jackson, who won two NBA titles as a player with the Knicks, also won 11 championships while coaching the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Former New York Knicks player Walt Frazier, left, joins Phil Jackson, the newly named president of the Knicks, at a news conference Tuesday, March 18, 2014 in New York. Frazier and Jackson are former teammates with the Knicks. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
FILE - In this June 3, 2009 file photo, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson answers question during a news conference after practice for Game 1 of the NBA final basketball series in Los Angeles. Carmelo Anthony says he has heard that 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson will be "coming on board" in a leadership capacity with the New York Knicks, though cautioned that nothing is yet official. Anthony made the comments Wednesday, March 12, 2014, to reporters in Boston, where the Knicks are playing the Celtics.(AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson looks on as the Lakers play the New York Knicks during the second half in an NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2007, in Los Angeles. The Knicks won 107-106. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)
Chicago Bulls' coach Phil Jackson walks dejectedly on the sidelines during the fourth period of Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals at New York's Madison Square Garden, May 11, 1994, after the Knicks stole the lead from the Bulls for the second time in two consecutive playoff games. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Chicago Bulls' coach Phil Jackson tries to orchestrate a win for his team as they play the New York Knicks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in New York's Madison Square Garden, May 22, 1994. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
FILE - In this 1971 file photo, New York Knicks' Phil Jackson poses for a photo. Jackson has returned to the New York Knicks as their team president. The Knicks announced Jackson's hiring Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at a news conference in the lobby of Madison Square Garden, where a giant sign reading "Welcome Home Phil" was overhead and shirts with the No. 18 Jackson wore as a player lined the racks in the merchandise store. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this undated file photo, New York Knicks' Phil Jackson warms up for an NBA basketball game. Jackson will be introduced as the newest member of the New York Knicks' front office Tuesday morning, according to a person familiar with the negotiations between the 11-time champion coach and the team. The person spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday, March 14, 2014, because the Knicks would only confirm that a "major announcement" involving team executives was scheduled. (AP Photo/File)