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New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson has urged the fans to blame him for the disaster that has been this season so far as the Knicks fell to 5-35 following their loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
Jackson delivered a message to the fans before the game, but it did little to appease their frustration through the first half as the Knicks crumbled and eventually fell to another defeat.
New York are currently on a franchise-high 15-game losing streak and have now lost 25 of their last 26 games as they remain rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
“This is mea culpa. I take responsibility for it,” Jackson told reporters.
“Obviously I didn’t do the right thing in picking the group of guys that were here.
“A lot of it was etched in stone, we had guys with guaranteed contracts. But in anticipating that we were going to better, that we were giving hope to our fans that maybe there’s a possible playoff opportunity here, you know, that goes on me. We now have to take responsibility and move forward and make things happen, that also goes on me. Now I have to do the job that I was brought here to do.”
Jackson added that he didn’t want the fans to blame rookie coach Derek Fisher, who he believes is doing the best job that he can do in the circumstances, and he asked them to “leave him alone in this regard”.
Instead, Jackson has blown up the roster this year following the trade deal moving JR Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers while they also waived Samuel Dalembert.
Speculation suggests that further trades may well be forthcoming as the Knicks look to acquire assets and future Draft picks, and Jackson will be under pressure to ensure that this disaster isn’t repeated next season as he conceded that he is aware that their losing streak will make New York an unattractive destination for free agents this summer.
The Knicks will likely have upwards of $25m to spend in free agency while they are also likely to now receive a top pick in June’s Draft.