LeBron James will never let Phil Jackson live down his “posse” comments from last season.
If that much wasn’t clear before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ come-from-behind victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night, it was abundantly evident afterward while he was commenting on the state of the Orange and Blue. Here were his parting shots, per ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin:
“They’re playing some good basketball,” James said of the Knicks. “I think Jeff, the coach, Jeff Hornacek is finally — with the release of the old fella, he’s finally allowed to implement what he wants to do on the team and he’s showing it’s very effective.”
The “old fella” he was referring to is the 72-year-old Jackson. James flashed a smile before he said it.
Grudge-holding LeBron is the best LeBron.
Yes, some things like this can be petty. But this isn’t one of them. Jackson was dismissive at best of James and the empire he’s built both inside and outside basketball. His comments went well beyond sympathizing with another executive, in Pat Riley, who he painted as a quasi-victim of James’ departure from the Miami Heat.
Whether you agree with LeBron about Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is a different story.
New York is 12th in points scored per 100 possessions, and Hornacek has them running some more intricate sets during which Kristaps Porzingis gets moving off the ball. But the Knicks aren’t particularly inventive either. A lot of their offense is predicated on Porzingis hitting tough shots over shorter defenders. He deserves credit for giving his young stud more leeway—and for not burying him behind a Carmelo Anthony-Derrick Rose shot-consuming duty, but the jury remains out on whether he’s actually the right coach for the squad.
The verdict on James’ relationship with Jackson, however, is in. And it has been for quite some time. He despises him, and he’s not about to let up now.