Front Office Phil (Jackson) Headed North?



HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You need a passport for this week’s stop on the Phil Jackson rumor train.

Cleveland is history, Mike Brown‘s the new (old) coach there. The Seattle situation, complete with Chris Hansen and his affinity for Jackson, took a serious hit Monday when Sacramento prevailed in its bid to keep the Kings in California. The Los Angeles Lakers’ situation is still in flux as no one knows what is going to happen with Dwight Howard (free agency looms), Kobe Bryant (rehabilitation from Achilles surgery is underway) and coach Mike D’Antoni (good for next season as coach), but they will all certainly be in the crosshairs this summer.

So the attention to Jackson has shifted north, to Toronto, where reports have the Raptors exploring the possibilities of trying to woo Jackson to be a part of their front office structure. Since he’s made it clear that he has no interest in returning to the league as a coach, the ideal situation for the Zen Master is to return as Front Office Phil.

Jackson’s relationship with new Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment boss, Tim Leiweke, presents the Raptors with an opportunity to pursue Jackson in ways that didn’t seem possible before, as Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com detail here:

One source said that Leiweke’s “vision and energy” and history of shared success at Staples Center with the 11-time championship coach ensures that Jackson will give the pitch strong consideration despite skepticism around the league about his willingness to relocate to Canada.

Amid its pursuit of Jackson in the wake of Leiweke’s arrival, Raptors president Bryan Colangelo is scheduled to meet with the MLSE board next week in hopes of convincing his bosses to pick up the option year on his contract. The 2013-14 option in coach Dwane Casey‘s contract was picked up by Colangelo before this season, but Leiweke’s arrival has thrown both of their futures into some immediate doubt.

In an interview last week with the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson said “three or four teams” have already expressed interest and that “none of it involves coaching.”

“There are some interesting situations that are presenting themselves, but I really haven’t made up my mind yet what I’m going to do,” Jackson told the Chronicle.

Jackson also confirmed to the newspaper he’s interested in a developing team “where you’d have the influence in [selecting the] coaching staff and the kind of culture that goes along with it.”

It makes sense, until you remember that Jackson’s ties to the Lakers remain extremely strong. And until the Lakers make some concrete decisions about their future, there always be those who hold out hope that Jackson (alongside his fiancée Jeanie Buss) will return to the Lakers and help fix all that’s gone wrong since he departed two years ago.

That reconciliation seems impossible as long as Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak remain at the controls for the Lakers. Quite frankly, they have more pressing matters to tend to, namely what Howard will do in free agency. Having him in the fold with Pau Gasol makes the Lakers’ recovery from their ragged 2012-13 season one of the most crucial stretches in recent franchise history, considering they’ll have to do it without a healthy Bryant to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility.

There remains another potential option in Jackson’s preferred Southern California, one that Lakers faithful fear above all others, and that’s Jackson working down the hall at the Staples Center in the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room. What better way for the Clippers to cement their takeover as the city’s top basketball outfit than to lure Jackson over to their side in his return to the NBA?

A team with a nucleus of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan with Jackson working behind the scenes (or as coach/executive, if things don’t go Vinny Del Negro‘s way during this postseason) has all sorts of possibilities. Same goes for the Brooklyn Nets, who could have a coaching vacancy this summer, barring a surprise championship run during these playoffs.

So much of this is speculation at this point, with everyone believing that they have the perfect situation for Jackson to walk into and craft to his liking, it’s hard to know what’s a legitimate possibility and what’s just hot air.

But as long as Jackson is reportedly interested in making a comeback, in whatever capacity, there will be suitors lined up to pitch him and plenty of fans anxious to see if he bites.

57 Comments

  1. 416 says:

    even though Phil is a great coach, I think casey is the right coach for the raps. Also, phil always need several superstars to work for.

  2. sanjay says:

    well I did not say toronto aint a big market! But it is not adding to any competition either! Just bringing in money is not the answer! East needs better competition, if toronto cant do it, It will be taken by other desperate towns!

    seattle is as big as torontos market for sure! so some one who is not bringing in money or adding to better competition will lose is my point!

  3. Now I def dont think he’s going

  4. Bryan says:

    Lakers needs Phil Jackson

  5. Gary says:

    Coaching is very demanding and the travel could be too hard on his health, and like the news have been reporting he only wants front office job. But he’s only going to work for big market teams so they’d have potential to sign max players, have post players to run triangle, and have a real shot at the title. Right now, teams with big market, young core, post bigs, and lots of veterans starting and off the bench… is Clippers. If Clippers take first round or second round exit (which seems very likely), I just don’t see how they’d bring Del Negro back. If you watch a lot of their break down videos, their offense is one of the worst, their winning season record is really based on talent more than anything. Del Negro is simply a mediocre coach. With PJ’s triangle, the spacing and movement will make their offense much more efficient and better usage of their bigs. Also, he’s marrying Jeanie Buss who has to stay in LA.

  6. DGFJ says:

    The only thing Phil would/should do in Toronto is trade away all of their players except Derozan and valancunous for 2014 pics, bottom out and get the Toronto Saviour: Andrew Wiggins. Home grown kid who is going to be the next Lebron/Jordan hybrid

  7. Jeremaine Prieto says:

    Fire jim buss, hire phil jackson!

  8. sanjay says:

    I think toronto has to be dissolved as it is not a big market and moved to seattle! This may sound harsh but could be a brilliant move !
    toronto has not won any championship and seem to be there just to fill in the numbers! If seattle is so desperate, they must ask stern to look in to this!

    some small market or big market who is not contributing to competition will be resolved soon!

    • Eric says:

      That’s the most stupid comment posted here so far. You obviously don’t know anything about the NBA economics. You wasted my time reading your stupid comment.

    • Rap fan 2 says:

      Hey dude, what have u been smoking? Toronto is one of the biggest cities in North America. The raptors are not losing money. The biggest thing that just happened for the raptors is the hiring of Tim Leiweke. The owners of MLSE are giving him the keys to build championship teams.

    • Shyne says:

      Toronto not a big market? Are you on drugs? 4th largest city in northa america. True, we have not been winning the last few years but you dont know what it’s like here whenever the raps are in the playoffs. It’s not maple leafs crazy but crazier than 3 quarters of the league at least!

      • dave says:

        toronto will fail, the guy is right

        bunch of losers and most pathetic soft and mediocre team … its not going to change no matter who you bring in there

        they have never had any heart, and its not going to change, its just the nature of this place

      • DGFJ says:

        You ever heard or seen Andrew Wiggins bud?? Ya he’s from Toronto and ya the league will ensure he ends up in Toronto much like the homegrown superstar rule to save franchises (Rose to Chicago, James to Cleveland) Wiggins will end up in Toronto. It’s the smartest economical decision for the NBA and that tends to be what they do. So when uhhhhh Andrew Wiggins is suited up for the Raptors come 2014, there will be a line up of people including Phil (who will already be here as GM/Pres by then) to ride Wiggins to NBA championships and glory….

        TDOT O homey WE GOT DOE

  9. Oz says:

    All you Laker fans, GIVE UP already! I don’t see Jackson going back to the Lakers at all. He will suit up for a front office job somewhere else, like all the rumors are suggesting. Lakers need to move on and stop living in the past. Try winning without Jackson or your old stars, that you rely on soooooooooo much! Kobe is pretty much done, the big diva, Nash is done, Howard will leave via Free Agency, Gasol is past his prime already, Metta is a headcase. Lakers need to rebuild again.

    Jackson to Bobcats!!! LoL!!!!!! =P

  10. jack says:

    Jackson only coaches stars to have a chance. I would like to see teaching young players mixed with experienced ones and no big star talented. He would not have a chance.

  11. TheRock says:

    Phil will not go Raptors. Because Raptors got no star players. He rather go for Miami Heats or OKC Thunder. He see no potential for Raptors. Coaching them is a waste of time.

  12. purpleman says:

    Jackson to Raptors woukd be a great acquistion.. Jackson could then hire Brian Shaw as head coach

  13. greg says:

    Hmm, in my honest opinion Phil Jackson is too good to go to any team. He should build a team from the ground up hehe. Get team number 31, move it to Seattle, be the coach, owner, gm and anything else he desires. Him and his long time gf can split the capital, maybe he can entice Jay-Z to buy into this one as well to help him out. How about that?

    Just kidding.

    Honestly though, Phil Jackson is going to go where he is going to feel comfortable and perhaps have a home court coaching gig, because I do believe he misses coaching, but doesn’t want to be bothered with the travel due to health issues. After all he’s not the young guy he was and he did have knee replacements.

  14. Broolyn says:

    PHIL WILL BE IN BROOKLYN!!!!!!

    THE NETS HAVE CAZILLIONARE OWNER!

    WHO WILL PAY PHIL MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE!!!!

  15. Joe says:

    Sterling has made it clear again and again that he would never hire Phil Jackson. He hates him for all the thing he said about him during his time in LA. It has a zero percent chance of happening. Zero. Google it.

  16. Phil can make any franchise a winner. Toronto is not a team who has done much winning lately. Sinch Bosh left they have been less than mediocre. I do like Rudy Gay he is a solid all star forward who can score from anywhere. Bottom line is you only win when you pay the money and get the talent. Demar is a proven star and Amir Johson is a future all star. Kobe wasted a year and Lakers went down because no Phil Jackson. A leader like Phil can make any franchise a contender.

  17. We are missing one thing.. says:

    NO ONE CAN TELL IF HE IS GOING TO BE A GOOD FRONT OFFICE MANAGER! He has only coached. What does that mean about his abilities in the front office?

  18. We Want Phil says:

    WE WANT PHIL!!!

    WE WANT PHIL!!!

    WE WANT PHIL!!!

    WE WANT PHIL!!!

  19. RAPSFAN22 says:

    I don’t think people are really understanding how much of a serious pitch Toronto has to offer. The boss of the Raptors ownership team is an LA businessman who worked with Phil Jackson throughout his career, you don’t think they have kept in touch? This guy knows what Phil wants and is willing to give it to him. This Ownership company MLSE which is owned by 4 different companies and is worth billions of dollars, can pretty much afford anything they want. When a name as big as Phil Jackson comes up, the money will be there if its needed, so 25 Million dollars is not a stretch by any means. He wants full control and to have hiring control over the entire coaching staff, well Colangelo has been on his last legs for a while now although the Rudy Gay deal saved him for a bit, and Dwayne Casey is very replaceable, you don’t think Phil Jackson already has in his head who he would want to coach a team he is going to be running? This is business ppl, and we are talking about some of the richest companies in the world going after a person with expertise in the game of basketball. BTW you don’t think a President/GM job can be done from anywhere? These guys usually travel to meet people so him having to be in Toronto all year is not necessary. He would bring automatic credibility and respect to the team, All-star weekend in Toronto? He would make it happen. Free agent signings? Done. If he really wants to run a team Toronto is truly his best option, he would be dealing with people he already knows, have full control over a team that has multiple players with star potential, a salary that would be higher than any team could offer, and most importantly he would have freedom, which is EXACTLY what he wants!

    • DGFJ says:

      The only thing Phil would/should do in Toronto is trade away all of their players except Derozan and valancunous for 2014 pics, bottom out and get the Toronto Saviour: Andrew Wiggins. Home grown kid who is going to be the next Lebron/Jordan hybrid

  20. DA says:

    Anyone thinking PJ is gonna go to Toronto needs to be slapped. What a dumb article!

  21. when hes on tv it just seems that he doesnt really want/need to be coaching anyone, hopefully back to LA to make something happen for the Lakers.

  22. Jordan says:

    Phil needs to go with who made him and that was mike so he needs to go to charlotte

    • Mike says:

      Finally someone else with the same idea as me. I am surprised Jordan has not yet pursued Jackson in some shape or form yet. That would be pretty damn interesting to see the two of them team up again!!!

      • June says:

        This is an interesting piece of post… I just don’t know either why MJ didn’t go for Phil for his office (or more like his coaching staff when Phil was still into coaching)… Maybe it’s because MJ wanted to prove he can go somewhere without Phil or perhaps some hidden bad blood between the two… We will never know… Still a mystery but a good idea sir…

  23. iivviiccaa79 says:

    Aren’t you gettin’ tired of all those PJ stories?

  24. loo out says:

    If he comes i want the raps to past the luxury tax, they are the richest SOBs in any league and don’t act like the deep pockets they are…

    • June says:

      I guess that’s one reason why Carter, Bosh and McGrady left… Toronto had been the richest (in terms of pockets) in the NBA and yet they failed to surround their players with quality players too… I’m sorry for any Raptor fans (I was when Carter was there since that, for me, is the sole season the Raptors ever saw light… After his departure, Bosh was the last bastion in what could’ve been said as ELE for the Raptors) but I doubt Phil will go to an organization where he would see more “L’s” than “W’s”… Nuff said…

  25. Unkle Daddy says:

    I love the fact that everybody is so worried about Howard returning to L.A. they all just had a season together and barely made the playoffs. If he stays the future is very dim, I’m sorry nobody on that team is getting any younger. He needs to go someplace else end of story (Atlanta). Now, Phil isn’t going to Canada people, it’s cold and he is old, old people go south or west. Phil I hope you go down the hall to Clipper-land, I don’t like the Clippers, but I hate the Lakers.

  26. dowannanie says:

    Hello!

  27. Chuck says:

    Update: Phil Jackson to meet with the Washington Wizards on Friday. Reports say Jackson will be looking to take on the head coaching job at the beginning of next season.

  28. TDOT says:

    Phil Jackson should come to toronto, toronto is such a beautiful city without the bad attitudes you find in america… witt the raptors he will have full control of a team and it will allow him to build a team his way

  29. nathan says:

    Phil Jackson to Toronto Raptros. Done deal!

  30. Undercover8 says:

    Totally irrelevant to the article, but imagine Jackson coaching the Heat!
    It is pretty safe to say that Jackson played a huge part in making Jordan and Kobe the players they were in their championship winning days, but what would be of Lebron if Jackson was the coach? MVP every year for Lebron along with a championship ring for however many years they are together?

    But… too bad. Spoelstra is doing more than an excellent job with Lebron and the Heat team right now.

  31. ac says:

    i think it would be cool to see Phil in the front office of Toronto. They definitely underperformed this year and they still need more pieces, but they have some nice young talent. Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay, DeRozan, and Valancunias is a great core to build around, not to mention Amir Johnson, and Quincy Acy, both of whom I think will develop into solid pro players . They’re sure to get a high lottery pick this year too. If they could just move Bargniani somewhere they actually could be in a position to entice a guy like Howard to come and build something in Toronto with this young core, especially with Phil Jackson in the front office. I’m sure he would be a great GM, he’s smart as hell and knows how to get a team winning. Plus, when’s the last time anybody was even remotely interested in the Toronto Raptors, this would shake things up a bit!

    • eha says:

      What? You want Howard and Valanciunas? And Raps draft pick goes to OKC unless they get top 3 (unlikely). Amir Johnson has probably already peaked and is pretty solid.

      He has no credentials as a GM, although his input and high profile name would be good to have. That’s true.

    • DGFJ says:

      Raptors don’t have a first round pick bud. They traded it (foolishly) for Kyle Lowry. OKC has Torontos first round pick.
      The only thing Phil would/should do in Toronto is trade away all of their players except Derozan and valancunous for 2014 pics, bottom out and get the Toronto Saviour: Andrew Wiggins. Home grown kid who is going to be the next Lebron/Jordan hybrid.

  32. sanjay says:

    with 11 rings phil is a hot commodity to be lured in to any coaching at his age! Unless some body can come up with 25 mil/year deal, it is not worth his time! He can write a book and make more money than that! And he should do that! Talk about art of winning etc! For now he is done coaching( la do not have a team to win championship anymore and kobe is not
    young either!)

  33. corey says:

    fire mike, hire Phil Jackson in LA

  34. Beavis says:

    i believe Phil could only be talked into coaching in LA… front office type thing could be else where (though as a Laker fan i think he and Jeanie should buy out ol’ Jimmy & start really running things)

    fire Dantoni, give Jimmy some minimal job, bring back Jerry West. Shaw, Rambis these were all better coaching options from day one. The downhill slide started with hiring Brown out of left fiel & who did that? JIMMY.

    • learn to read says:

      which part of he is not looking for a coaching job but a front office job do you not understand?

  35. zhiggi says:

    If this whole thing materializes. It’ll be interesting to see what Phil Jackson can bring into this raptors organization. We know his tendency of being a great coach but it’ll be nice to see how he can bring success into an organization that are waiting to see the light of day.

  36. kingk says:

    If Phil Jackson’s gonna coach any where i think he’s going to LA….. i don’t think he would want to coach anywhere else