Throughout the Nets coaching search, we’ve witnessed some pretty definitive denials of interest from candidates (hello Coach K.), so I was a bit shocked when Lakers coach Phil Jackson gave, what was perhaps, the most unique non-denial denial I’ve ever read:
“I’d like to have a vodka with him at some point. He seems like a very interesting young man,” Jackson told reporters before Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals last night.
Amazing. Of course he’s referring to new owner Mikhail Prokhorov as the “interesting young man.” And while Jackson, who’s in the final year of his contract and is reportedly mulling retirement or a paycut with the Lakers next season, outright dismissed the notion of returning to the Bulls sidelines, he definitely left the option of the Nets hanging out there like a beachball on a tee.
Dave D’Alessandro seems to have an idea of what must be done to pry Jackson from the Lakers:
But here’s how you find out whether Jackson is interested: You call Todd Musburger in Chicago, ask him what it would take to extricate his client from his cocoon in Playa Del Rey, pray that he doesn’t tell Mitch Kupchak or Jeanie Buss about it, and then scrape together $100,000 for the tampering penalty you will undoubtedly incur.
Ultimately, I think Jackson coaching the Nets is as much as a possibility as LeBron James playing SF next season. Yes, it’s a possibility, but a LOT would have to go right for it to happen. And as Dave D. points out, there’s no way of knowing that these two actions can be tied together. Would LeBron, who is now earning the “uncoachable” tag, unless you apparently hire lifelong sleazeball John Calipari, even want to play for the Zenmaster? I will say this – if my choice was between Phil Jackson and LeBron James, I’m taking the guy with ten rings over the guy who acts like he’s earned ten rings but actually has none.