UPDATE: Phil Jackson is the only candidate the Brooklyn Nets have contacted about their open coaching position, an insider tells NetsDaily. The Nets are likely waiting for candidates involved in the playoffs to become available, such as Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw and Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins.
The latest: Phil Jackson was the team’s top candidate to replace P.J. Carlesimo as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, according to various reports. A league source told the New York Post and Yahoo! Sports that Jackson is not interested in a return to coaching. He is more interested in returning in a front office role where he can control putting together a roster.
The skinny: If you’re reading this, you probably know who Phil Jackson is and his pedigree. He’s an 11-time NBA champion as a coach. He knows you don’t smoke peyote. He turned the triangle offense into a household name. He maximized the talents of the two greatest shooting guards the NBA has ever seen. He helped mercurial talents coexist on the road to championships. He holds coaching records for the best regular season winning percentage ever (.704), the most wins over .500 (335), the most playoff wins ever (229), the best playoff winning percentage ever (.688), the most Conference Championships (13), the most NBA titles (11).
To wrap all that up in one neat, non-statistical package: he’s arguably the greatest coach of all time.
Jackson also played his entire NBA playing career in this area: first with the New York Knicks from 1967-78, then two seasons with the New Jersey Nets before retiring.
The verdict: If Jackson’s interested in a return to coaching, he’s the obvious choice, and Mikhail Prokhorov will write him a blank check to return. But he’s not. Along with the reports to the New York Post and Yahoo!, a source within the organization tells The Brooklyn Game that Jackson returning to coaching is “very unlikely,” and that confirms other reports that Jackson’s more interested in a managerial role than anything else. That makes the Nets an odd fit for Jackson’s desires — their roster is mostly set, and there’s not much the Nets can tinker with now.
However, if Jackson does join the team in a front office role, there’s a good chance that Brian Shaw — his former assistant — would end up the coach.