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Phil Jackson leans to Michael Jordan over Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant Michael JordanLooks like Phil Jackson won’t be back to coach the Los Angeles Lakers any time too soon.

In his new memoir “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success” that will be out next Tuesday, Jackson finally compares Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as players. Jackson clearly favors MJ over Kobe.

Jackson has won 11 championship rings as a coach — six with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Lakers. He mostly avoided comparing MJ and Kobe — two of the greatest players ever, both of whom were star players on his teams — until now. That’s probably because he was still in the middle of his coaching career when he wrote his first book.

According to excerpts from the book shared by the Los Angeles Times, Jackson calls Jordan a “tougher, more intimidating defender,” and says Kobe sometimes forces the action. He also said Jordan had superior skills to Kobe as a leader.

“No question, Michael was a tougher, more intimidating defender. He could break through virtually any screen and shut down almost any player with his intense, laser-focused style of defense,” Jackson writes, per The Times.

“Kobe has learned a lot from studying Michael’s tricks, and we often used him as our secret weapon on defense when we needed to turn the direction of a game. In general, Kobe tends to rely more heavily on his flexibility and craftiness, but he takes a lot of gambles on defense and sometimes pays the price.”

[RELATED: Which player would Jackson choose to start a team?]

Jackson also commented on Kobe’s 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors and noted the difference in shooting percentage between the two; Kobe is 45.4 percent for his career, whereas Jordan was 49.7.

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Phil Jackson reportedly ‘done with coaching’

Phil JacksonPhil Jackson is the best basketball coach available, but he may not have interest in coaching again.

Jackson turned down the Brooklyn Nets, who were interested in having him replace PJ Carlesimo as the team’s head coach. The outcome is no surprise; we didn’t figure he would be interested in coaching the Nets. But what’s interesting is that TNT’s David Aldridge says a source told him Jackson is “done with coaching.” Aldridge’s source says Jackson continues to see an executive job where they would have full control over basketball operations.

Jackson has signed on with teams to serve as a consultant. The Detroit Pistons hired him to help them select their new head coach. He reportedly was also trying to assume a similar role with UCLA when the Bruins were looking for a new basketball coach. There was even talk that the Toronto Raptors were trying to make Jackson their next president.

It seems to me that Jackson’s agent is making sure his client’s name is constantly mentioned in order to keep his leverage high. Sure, any time a coaching opening comes up, teams looking to make a splash will inquire about his interest, but it seems like Phil is also making himself available to talk with teams.

I wouldn’t completely close the door on Jackson coaching again. If the right opportunity came up — one where he could win a championship — I bet he would be interested. I’m just guessing that sort of opportunity is unlikely to emerge, which is why he’s looking for a front office job that suits him.

Pistons hire Phil Jackson to help select their next head coach

Phil Jackson has reportedly been itching to return to the NBA in some sort of capacity that is not coaching, and it appears he has already landed his first gig. The Detroit Pistons have hired Jackson to advise president of basketball operations Joe Dumars in selecting a new head coach, according to the team’s official website.

Pistons owner Tom Gore, who is friends with the legendary coach, insists that Jackson will only be with the team in the short term but that they are excited to have him on board.

“Phil Jackson is a friend and one of the best minds in the business,” Gores said. “We are thrilled to have him as an adviser as we make some very important decisions for this franchise. Joe (Dumars) and I discussed this and he and I are in full agreement that this is a great opportunity.”

As someone who has won 11 championships as a head coach in the NBA, Jackson can obviously be a valuable asset in helping select a head coach. Multiple reports have surfaced this month that Jackson is interested in returning to the league in a role similar to the one Pat Riley has with the Miami Heat. Rather than coaching, sources say he wants to oversee basketball operations and possibly help a struggling team.

This is a good start. Detroit has played five-straight seasons of sub-.500 ball and has not made the playoffs since 2009, when they were swept in the opening round. It may be a short-term gig, but Jackson’s task with the Pistons could be a stepping stone toward a larger role with one of the teams people have been speculating about.

Raptors reportedly working to sign Phil Jackson as team president

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.

Lakers fans chant ‘we want Phil!’ during Game 3 loss to the Spurs (Video)

The Los Angeles Lakers dug themselves into a massive hole with a blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 on Friday night — one that they likely will not climb out of. The Lakers have disappointed their fans all season long, but as anticipated they have looked particularly lost without Kobe Bryant. Injuries have been the team’s biggest issue, but that hasn’t stopped the fans from blaming head coach Mike D’Antoni.

As Friday night’s 120-89 loss came to a close, Lakers fans were heard chanting “we want Phil!” I doubt Phil Jackson would have much more success with the current LA roster, but the fans never see it that way.

No matter where he goes, D’Antoni can’t seem to escape the chants for the Zen Master. When the New York Knicks were struggling last year under D’Antoni, fans chanted the same thing. I guess it’s a step above calling for him to simply be fired, but it’s tough to constantly coach in the shadow of Jackson. The Lakers had another shot at Phil but they decided to go with D’Antoni. Like it or not, the fans are probably stuck with it for another year.

Phil Jackson takes shot at Pau Gasol on Twitter before playoffs

Phil-Jackson-Pau-GasolThe Los Angeles Lakers have made their way into the postseason despite their well-documented struggles all season long. Losing Kobe Bryant for the year down the stretch will certainly hurt, but LA is fortunate to still be playing let alone somehow grabbing a No. 7 seed.

On Saturday afternoon, Pau Gasol tweeted that the Lakers were wrapping up practice and getting ready to head to San Antonio for their opening-round series against the Spurs. What Gasol likely didn’t remember it that Phil Jackson is now on Twitter, which means the Zen Master has another way to screw with the minds of his former players.

Jackson used to coach Gasol and is obviously joking, but we know better than to think he has no motivation behind sending the tweet. Perhaps his motivation is to motivate. With Bryant on the shelf, Gasol and the rest of the Lakers will need to step up if they want to pull off an upset. Maybe Phil is just doing his part to help out some old buddies.

At least this tweet from the Zen Master was more than just a lame advertising ploy.

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.