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In radio interview on WFAN, Checketts questioned the Knicks' decision to acquire Stephon Marbury, said he doubts that Phil Jackson would ever want to come to New York to coach a losing team and said that the roster is filled with players who are just "playing for a check."
"I do not think he wants to coach again unless he can step into a ready-made situation and be very competitive," Checketts said. "And the Knicks' situation doesn't offer that. They'll throw a boat load of money (at Jackson). I don't think money is going to do it for Phil. I promise you he is all about his legacy now and why spoil it by coaching a team that might not make the playoffs?"
Checketts interviewed Jackson for the Knicks' job in 1999, but said yesterday that he felt all along that Jackson was using him to drive up his price with the Lakers.
The Knicks are 29-41 entering tonight's game against the Nets at the Garden. One more defeat will ensure their fourth straight losing season, something the franchise hasn't done since the late '80s.
Since Checketts left, the Knicks have yet to win a playoff game and are on their fourth coach.
"Herb has done a great job," Checketts said. "He's a terrific guy. And he's a Knick. I like that about him. He played for us. He knows what it means to put on the uniform. What disturbs me about the team as I see it now, you do all of this shifting, you bring in guys with big-time contracts, they're here playing for a check. It means nothing to them to put on a uniform. And that's what bothers me about it."
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