James Dolan’s latest review on Phil Jackson and state of Knicks

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 09 April 2015 | 18.18

Knicks owner James Dolan, in a long Q & A with The Hollywood Reporter on his many business ventures, gave a big vote of confidence for struggling president Phil Jackson.

"You got to believe, baby! I believe, I believe!,'' Dolan said.

When asked if there would be any interference by him if the losing continued next season, Dolan said: "I don't see it happening. Phil is a brilliant basketball guy, and he and [GM] Steve [Mills] are working together great. I enjoy being out of the limelight. I enjoy having two experts in there that I trust. I barely have to do a thing. It can stay like that for me forever. As long as we continue to make progress — and I'm sure we will. I believe!''

Dolan also raved about the team's fans.

"The majority of them understand we're in a rebuild," he said, "We're moving as fast as we can and they see our opportunities as being huge. I think they are, but it's all in Phil's hands."

Coach Derek Fisher said Cleanthony Early's ankle issues have occurred often enough that it appears to be a chronic condition and he said the Knicks rookie has to focus more on preparation in trying to prevent such injuries.

Early missed his second straight game Wednesday with a sprained left ankle as the Knicks lost, 102-86, to the Pacers at the Garden. It's the third time this season Early has missed a game because of an ankle sprain, and Fisher said the ankle woes date to when Early was in college at Wichita State.

Fisher talked about the prep work he would like Early to do more of to keep him from getting re-injured. Early will be back either Friday or Saturday.

"You turn an ankle once, things change. I don't know if you ever get 100 percent,'' Fisher said. "The chances of it happening again is more likely the more you do it. That's why you have to remain diligent and a lot of the correctives you need to do before practice and before activity to offset and stabilize. … I think he even had ankle injuries in college. So we have enough signs at this point that we need to look at things differently in addressing his ankle.''

Early, Phil Jackson's first draft pick as Knicks president, had knee surgery for loose cartilage in late November, igniting his bad-luck rookie year. Early fell to the second round (34th pick) in the draft, but there was no sign he could have been damaged goods.

"You can't control if you step on someone's foot and turn an ankle, but there are a ton of things can be done to offset some injuries that naturally take place,'' Fisher said. "We just have to hold him accountable to it. That's why we ask them to be here in a certain time in the morning to prepare their bodies to perform. Young players sometimes struggle with that.''

According to a source, the Knicks had concerns earlier in the season about Early's conditioning when he returned from a six-week absence after knee surgery and was sent to the D-League for two games.

Carmelo Anthony made his first appearance on the Knicks' bench — or specifically the row behind the bench — since his February knee surgery. Anthony won't sit on the actual bench because of safety issues.

"It's good to see I guess but he hasn't abandoned us whether he sits out there or not,'' Fisher said. "He's still a key leader to our team.''

New St. John's coach Chris Mullin sat on celebrity row.

The Knicks signed 6-foot-7 guard Ricky Ledo for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract expired.

Ledo scored six points and had three assists against the Pacers, but Fisher said he is passing up too many shots to feed teammates. He has shown a bundle of talent and has fit in well in the locker room. There's a good chance Ledo will be invited to the Knicks' summer league.

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