Phil Jackson would coach in right fit


Phil Jackson is "ready to go back to work," a source with knowledge of his thinking told on Friday.

The former Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls coach has spent the last couple of years working to improve his health -- which included several surgeries and a successful fight against prostate cancer -- and writing a book. But the itch to return to the NBA in some capacity is strong.

While Jackson has made it clear to any team that has approached him that he prefers a front-office role that would allow him to shape and mold a franchise the way Miami Heat president Pat Riley has, he is open to the possibility of coaching for a short period of time if it was necessary in a transition period for a franchise with championship aspirations, the source said.

He would not consider any coaching position that did not have a significant guarantee of personnel power as well, sources said.

Sources previously told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that New York Knicks president and general manager Steve Mills recently met with Jackson regarding the possibility of him becoming the team's next coach. The sources said Jackson, 68, told the Knicks he was not interested in the position.

A source, meanwhile, confirmed to's Ian Begley that the Knicks have offered Jackson a front-office position.

The New York Daily News earlier had reported the offer, with a league source telling the newspaper that Jackson is expected to deliver his decision sometime next week.

Jackson, who has a career record of 1,155-485 in 20 seasons with the Bulls and Lakers, has won 11 NBA championships total. He previously has said health considerations precluded him from seriously considering a return to coaching, telling NBA TV in late January that "my stock answer has been I have no intention of coaching again."

He rebuffed the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets last offseason, when each team approached him about a position that only involved coaching.

He also passed on an opportunity to join the Toronto Raptors in an undefined role, later saying he preferred an opportunity to run a Seattle franchise had the Sacramento Kings been sold to Chris Hansen and relocated there.

After speaking at the Sloan Conference on sports analytics in Boston last week, Jackson told USA Today that he had several recent conversations with organizations about returning to the NBA.

"There are winners and losers in the NBA, and a lot of people are trying to reclaim their position or change their culture or whatever," Jackson told USA Today. "So yeah, there is [opportunity]. I've had conversations. Some of them are feelers. 'Are you interested?' type of thing."

The Knicks won their second straight game Friday night against the Utah Jazz but still are 17 games under .500 (23-40) with coach Mike Woodson.

"I really don't have an opinion on it," Woodson said before Friday's game when asked about the Jackson-to-New York reports. "I really don't. Again, as I sit here today, I am the coach of the New York Knicks. I am not going to entertain anything about Phil.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...