Earlier this month, a report surfaced that indicated Phil Jackson is anxious to return to the NBA next season in some sort of capacity that may not be coaching. As you might expect, several teams have already expressed interest in bringing Jackson on board. However, it may surprise you to hear that the Toronto Raptors are believed to be a frontrunner.
According to ESPN.com, the Raptors have intensified their pursuit of Jackson in hopes of making him their next team president. The man now overseeing the Raptors is Tim Leiweke, who was once a big name associated with the Los Angeles sports scene and has a close relationship with the NBA coaching legend.
While many believe Jackson, who is 67 years old, would want to join a contender, that is not necessarily the case. Since Phil may not be interested in a head coaching position, he is looking to start out in a place where he would be able to oversee basketball operations and select a head coach. Now that Leiweke has taken control of the Raptors, head coach Dwane Casey’s future is in doubt. The team has also yet to pick up president Bryan Colangelo’s option for the 2013-2014 season, meaning Jackson could easily slide into his position.
One ESPN source said that Jackson is looking at his future options with an extremely open mind and is willing to listen to pitches from just about any team in the league. It seems like the question comes down to how big of a challenge Jackson is looking for. Given his resume, it’s safe to assume there will be no shortage of teams willing to carve out a role for him. Does he want that role to be with a team like the Lakers alongside fiancee Jeanie Buss, or with a team like the Raptors, who have been to the playoffs five times in their team’s 18-year history? We’ll just have to wait and see.Google+