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Irving-Phil coverage

CROSSOVER MOVE: Irving Azoff has been reading the sports section of the daily paper for as long as he can remember, but he’s not accustomed to seeing stories about himself in it. That changed last week when Phil Jackson was announced as the new President of the New York Knicks and MSG boss/Knicks owner James Dolan singled out Azoff, his friend and business partner, as the guy who put the deal together—because putting deals together is as natural to Irving what breathing is to the rest of us. “The thing I enjoy most,” Azoff said in a New York Times sports-section profile headlined “The Man in the Middle,” “is being able to put a plan together and have it work.” As a sports fan, Irving has to be getting a kick out of this brief window of attention, which also includes being name-checked on ESPN Sports Center, but his emotions must’ve been mixed last night at Staples Center, when the longtime Lakers power-seat holder’s favorite Western Conference team put the Knicks’ teetering playoff hopes in further jeopardy by hammering them 127-96, as Jackson looked on from a luxury suite. (3/26a)

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