Phil Jackson reportedly ‘itching’ to return to NBA, not necessarily as a coach
Phil Jackson could be considering a return to the NBA next season, but the 11-time NBA champion is not necessarily interested in patrolling the sidelines. According to ESPNLosAngeles.com, sources familiar with Jackson’s thinking say he is “itching” to get back to work in the NBA but is known to be intrigued by the possibility of accepting a management role for the first time in his career.
Jackson, who has previously stated that he is done with coaching for good, is reportedly intrigued by making a move similar to the one Pat Riley made in becoming the “man in charge,” so to speak, of the Miami Heat. Coaching sources told ESPN.com that Jackson’s reported interest in working in a front office position and his past comments about never coaching again will not deter teams from making a run at him as a coaching candidate.
While the Lakers have struggled this season and seemingly fallen short of their potential under head coach Mike D’Antoni, ESPN.com says a return to Los Angeles is “highly unlikely” for Jackson. If you remember, there were reports back in November that Jackson had accepted the Lakers job again before it was given to D’Antoni. It is believed the Lakers will give D’Antoni a chance to coach the team with a full training camp and healthy roster at his disposal. If you ask this NBA coach, he’d tell you the Lakers owe Jackson an apology for embarrassing him earlier this season.
Obviously, there will be no lack of interest in one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. Jackson was at the top of the Brooklyn Nets’ list and reportedly listened to their offer after Avery Johnson was fired in December, so there is still a possibility of that dialogue being revisited. Vinny Del Negro is in the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, but ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard says Clippers owner Donald Sterling has no interest in Jackson.
Of course, there’s always the strong possibility that the Zen Master stays right where he is. At age 67 and having won more championships than any coach in NBA history, it’s not as if he has a whole lot left to accomplish.