Much like an NCAA basketball team getting its first loss out of the way before the NCAA tournament hits, perhaps it is best that the New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan and Phil Jackson had their first disagreement about something as relatively benign as the firing of unnamed staff this month. Just a chance to re-iterate just who is who in this relationship, before it comes time to start arguing about coaches, general managers, players, or disclosures with the media.

That’s the report from Frank Isola at the New York Daily News, who revealed that Dolan got in the way of Jackson firing several members of Knick staff, citing loyalty as the reason why. What role this staff did or will play with the Knicks wasn’t listed, but we do know that Jackson and Dolan have already just about signed off on the fact that, no, Phil really isn’t completely in charge here.

From Isola’s piece:

Just one month into his role as Knicks president, Jackson has already clashed with Dolan, the chairman of Madison Square Garden, over personnel decisions, the Daily News has learned. According to a team source, Jackson is looking to remove several staff members, which is commonplace when a new administration takes over, but Dolan opposes removing certain employees.

According to the source, Dolan’s reaction to Jackson’s request was to tell the 11-time NBA championship coach to simply focus his attention on building a winning team. To say that “minor friction,” as one Garden source called it, can be classified as Jackson’s honeymoon with Dolan being over may be stretching it a bit.

But at the very least it proves that Dolan — surprise, surprise wasn’t being entirely truthful last month when he claimed he was “willingly and gratefully” giving up control of the basketball decisions to Jackson, the Hall of Fame coach.