Phil Jackson appears all but certain to be returning to the NBA with the New York Knicks. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported over the weekend that Jackson was leaning toward joining the Knicks in some capacity, and another report from Chris Broussard on Monday indicated that it would be a surprise if the move doesn’t happen.
“The Knicks have a sense of what’s going to happen,” a source reportedly told Broussard. “And as of right now, it looks like Phil’s taking the job. There’s always the possibility of something falling apart at the last minute, but the Knicks’ sense is that he’s joining them.”
The two sides are believed to be in the process of working out details, including what Jackson’s official title will be with the Knicks and when he will start working with the team. Initial speculation led to the belief that New York wanted to hire Jackson as a head coach, but it does not appear that will be the case.
One thing that does seem clear is that Jackson will have a much more significant role with the Knicks than the one he had with the Detroit Pistons last year in helping them select their new head coach. He is expected to be paid a lot of money by owner James Dolan and be an “integral part” of the team’s basketball operations.
There is always a possibility that Jackson is playing mind games and trying to leverage the Knicks against the Los Angeles Lakers, but that seems less likely by the day. It would be a surprise if an announcement about Jackson’s new job with the Knicks didn’t come soon.