Phil Jackson can’t retire because the NBA is still in his blood. However, even though he took two teams to 11 championships doesn’t mean Jackson wants to coach.
It seems Jackson wants to go back to work after a long spell to recharge since leaving the Los Angeles Lakers’ bench following the 2010-11 season.
Sources stressed that there is no specific opportunity in play yet for Jackson, who resisted coaching overtures from the Brooklyn Nets earlier this season and told longtime confidant Charley Rosen in January that he “has no intention of ever coaching again.”
Nevertheless, NBA coaching sources say that stance will not dissuade teams with openings from approaching Jackson this off-season to gauge his interest, with the Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers — who interviewed Jackson in 2005 and are known to be contemplating a coaching change — potentially at the top of the list.
What has Jackson really intrigued, sources say, is the opportunity to oversee an organization in the patriarchal style of Pat Riley with the Miami Heat or in a role similar to that previously held by Larry Bird with the Indiana Pacers.
However, it remains to be seen whether a team will give him that sort of chance, given that the 67-year-old Jackson is the most successful coach in league history and has never held a prominent NBA personnel job.
There’s always the chance that Jackson will simply stay retired if none of the opportunities that arise prove to be the right fit.
But then there’s the consulting rumor. While he doesn’t want to coach a team, he could be hired on to consult, and that might be worth more. In fact, there are a lot of NBA coaches who wouldn’t mind learning from Jackson.