Latest News, NBA / Mar 7, 2014 / 2:30 pm

Report: Sources Claim The Knicks Spoke With Phil Jackson About Coaching

Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson ( Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks are stuck towards the bottom of the pack in the LEastern Conference, and their superstar has the option to bounce for greener pastures on July 1 this summer. Now comes word from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith (we know, but still) that the Zen Master Phil Jackson spoke with Knicks GM Steve Mills about possibly becoming the next coach of the Knicks.

Per ESPN:

New York Knicks president and general manager Steve Mills met about two weeks ago with Phil Jackson about the possibility of Jackson becoming the team’s next coach, sources told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

The sources said that Jackson, 68, told the Knicks that he was not interested in the position at this time.

A source tells Marc Berman at the New York Post that Jackson is “leery” about working for MSG Chairman James Dolan, and might not be willing to live in New York rather than the time he spends split between his ranch in Wyoming and his home in LA with fiancé Jeanie Buss:

The Knicks have reached out to Jackson to discuss his future plans, according to a source. A source said Jackson will be a GM for a team or consultant next season, but his coaching days are over. Jackson’s willingness to relocate to the Big Apple is unclear.

“I don’t think he wants to live in New York anymore, and he definitely would be leery of working for (James) Dolan,” the source said.

Marc Stein opined in a piece today for ESPN that owner James Dolan is only keeping coach Mike Woodson around to act as the scapegoat when Dolan makes his free agency pitch to Carmelo Anthony this summer. Stein believes Dolan will use the incentive of an additional $33 million and an extra (fifth) year the Knicks can offer in free agency and lump in a new coach to entice ‘Melo to stay. But that new coach probably won’t be the NBA’s coaching leader in NBA championships. Jackson already has a lot of opportunities to sift through without dealing with a headache like Dolan.

“There are a few (opportunities), but I shouldn’t name them.” Jackson told USA Today‘s Sam Amick in a lengthy Q&A at last weekend’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

“It wouldn’t be right to talk about it, name anything. But yeah, there are some. There are winners and losers in the NBA, and a lot of people are trying to reclaim their position or change their culture or whatever. So yeah, there is. I’ve had conversations. Some of them are feelers. ‘Are you interested?’ type of thing.”

But the Zen Master was adamant in the same interview with Amick that his time perched on his buffered chair along the sidelines as an NBA coach is likely done: “I don’t want to be on the sidelines, that’s for damned sure,” Jackson said matter-of-factly.

Jackson spent the majority of his playing career as a reserve forward in New York, helping the Knicks win the franchise’s only two championships in 1971 and 1973.

The Knicks have reached out to Jackson on two earlier occasions, but Jackson similarly declined overtures from Dave Checketts and Isiah Thomas.

Do you think Jackson will ever work for the Knicks?

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