Will the Zen Master head north of the border to be in a front office? It's hard to tell, but the Raptors think so
Although he has not been a NBA coach since 2011 with the Lakers, 11-time NBA champion (11 as a coach, two as a player) Phil Jackson can never really seem to get his name out of the constantly-spinning coaching carousel.
The 67-year-old was linked to a possible comeback with the Lakers after Los Angeles fired Mike Brown just five games into the 2012-13 season. However, that rumor flamed out as Bernie Bickerstaff filled in as interim head coach for five more games until free-agent Mike D'Antoni was signed and coached the Lakers to a first round playoff sweep for the last 72 regular season games and four playoff games of the year.
Also, after the Brooklyn Nets' mid-year firing of Avery Johnson, Jackson was someone that reportedly held interest in the opening. But assistant P.J. Carlesimo was given the interim role for the rest of the season, leaving Jackson jobless for the whole season.
In the other circumstances that linked him to coaching vacancies, most had Jackson serving as both head coach and in some sort of executive position as well.
The Toronto Raptors, in their pursuit of Phil, are doing something a little different: pursuing the Hall-of-Fame head coach for solely a front-office job, team president to be exact.
But there seems to be a little more merit with the Jackson-to-Toronto possibility due to the fact that Jackson and Tim Leiweke, the new Los Angeles-based CEO of the company that overseas the Raptors and Maple Leafs, are longtime friends, and Leiweke may be recruiting the big-name to the franchise's top position.
Surely, having a massive fan already in the team's front office is a clue that Jackson may be inching towards the Raptors job, but clearly nothing is known yet.
From ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne: "There are some interesting situations that are presenting themselves, but I really haven't made up my mind yet what I'm going to do," Jackson told the [San Francisco] Chronicle.
Jackson also told the newspaper [that] he's interested in a developing team, "where you'd have the influence in [selecting the] coaching staff and the kind of culture that goes along with it."
Also, in the article, Jackson says of the offers he has received from teams that "none of it involves coaching", hinting that he is solely interesting in, and being pursued as, an executive at this point.
Although the process for his employment is still unknown, and vague about whether he has even decided on un-retiring yet, what we do know is that someone with Jackson's resume and skills as a basketball guy are desired in any franchise, meaning that there are many more layerw to peel back with this story.
It also may be awhile until he makes a decision, or the three-to-four teams interested make a decision on him.
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