Report: Nets had informal relationship with Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson (AP)
Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson (AP)

Did Phil Jackson consult for the Nets prior to taking the New York Knicks job? It appears so. Via NetsDaily:

“Ownership sought his informal advice on number of things over last couple of years,” said one Nets insider, who noted the Russians cast a wide net in seeking advice. “There were informal conversations but they never got to specific job discussions.”

The job discussions, said the insider, were always about coaching the team. “They were considering him as coach – the discussions never got to that stage. Billy may have inquired but ownership always knew he does not want to coach.” (There were reports during the Nets coaching search that King did reach out.)

Another insider said the Nets looked at Jackson, Gregg Popovich and Pat Riley as the three game-changers among NBA executives “and only one of them was unemployed.”

Jackson has said he consulted informally with “four or five teams.” Among the others he spoke with were the Pistons and the ownership group that wanted to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle. The consultancies, he has said, were unpaid.

We all knew the Nets reached out to Jackson to coach — we knew that from the day they fired Avery Johnson. Prokhorov said when directly asked about Jackson, “you know who the usual suspects are.” We also knew that Jackson was consulting for a few teams, and that the Nets could’ve been one of those teams, but this report apparently confirmed that.

So what did Jackson consult on, exactly? You have to imagine that he was in favor of the Nets hiring Brian Shaw over Jason Kidd, as Shaw was one of his disciples in Los Angeles. He could’ve had a hand in the Nets forking over Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, draft picks, and flotsam for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, but Billy King wouldn’t need a consultation to do that deal. If anything, Jackson may have had a hand in looking at some of the team’s free agent signings — the Siddhartha-reading Shaun Livingston and Jackson seem like two peas in a pod.

The Knicks will announce Jackson’s role with the team Tuesday, a presumably a front office/consultation role. So the Knicks are paying Jackson $12 million per season to make Jackson exclusively do what he did for four or five other teams and for free. Cool. Get your money, Phil.

NetsDaily — Nets ownership often consulted with Phil Jackson, say insiders