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Everyone denies report Phil Jackson talking to Orlando front office

Jun 6, 2012, 10:59 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers - Game One Getty Images

UPDATE 10:59 pm: Everyone who should be involved in these conversations about Phil Jackson to Orlando says they have no idea what we are all talking about. From the AP:

However, Jackson’s longtime agents, Todd and Brian Musburger, said Wednesday that the Magic has never contacted them about Jackson. And a league source familiar with the Magic’s search for a new general manager said that Vincent was not speaking for the Magic, nor are the Magic interested in hiring Jackson.

“One, Phil never voiced any interest in Orlando,” Todd Musburger said “never had us check it out, never checked it out himself. Two, Orlando never called.”

Here’s how this works. Sam Vincent (the former Bulls player under Jackson who would be the Magic GM in this scenario) is trying to work this out and he and his people are doing it all through back channels. There have been no formal conversations yet — call it plausible deniability. It’s how deals often get done. By the time the Magic and Jackson would actually formally start talking a foundation would be in place.

But these kinds of talks — from trades to coach movement — go on all the time, and 99 percent of the time nothing comes of it. This time it seems very unlikely anything actually happens. But it doesn’t mean there are not people pushing for it. And it helps them to get the public talking about it.

8:59 am: I’ve said here before that I expect Phil Jackson to find a role in the NBA again, just not as a coach. I think he’s done with that grind, but the guy loves competition and power. He’s not just riding off into a Montana sunset.

With that background, we bring you the report that the Phil Jackson to the Magic front office talk is not dead as was first reported last week. It has been revived, reports Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated.

According to the sources, the latest version of the proposal has Pacers assistant and ex-Lakers assistant Brian Shaw coaching the team and Hall of Famer and Bulls ambassador Scottie Pippen as the lead assistant. And as if Jackson’s potential price tag wasn’t daunting enough (he earned $12 million in his last year with the Lakers), one of the sources said he is asking for a slice of minority ownership in the franchise as well. The hope, of course, would be for Jackson to use his cachet to convince Dwight Howard to remain in Orlando for the long-term. Jackson’s agent, Todd Musburger, did not return a call for comment.

The idea is being pushed by former Bobcats coach (and Bulls player under Jackson) Sam Vincent, who would have a hands-on, day-to-day role in the front office. (It’s in their interest to have this public, also, to see if it fires up the Orlando fan base, thereby moving the needle with management.) Jackson would work remotely much of the time, either from his Montana ranch or Jeannie Buss’ home in Los Angeles where he still spends time.

Would just the mere name of Jackson really convince Howard to stay? I’m not convinced, it sounds to me like he just wants out, something this report confirms. Amick suggests the Magic aren’t convinced either

Yet fascinating as the idea might be, Magic CEO Alex Martins appears to be against the idea of having an absentee leader — no matter how many rings he has. In the plan, Jackson — according to one of the sources — would work in Orlando one week out of every month and agree to make six community appearances every month as well.

It sounds like a long shot still. But if the Magic are really looking to do something different and bring in a name guy who certainly has some clout, this would be a move to consider. Just don’t expect it to happen.

  1. cantonbound13 - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Fire Riley bring in Phil

  2. stayhigh_247 - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    So you know they’ll be running the triangle with Phil , B Shaw and Pip in the building. The issue is Dwight, dude has looked hella lame these last few months. If they can convince D Will to come and be the real team leader this could work. But looking at OKC’s cohesiveness, they would still have a long way to go toward contending. I hope this happens though with or without Dwight.

  3. tomtravis76 - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Just wait a few more days on any decision, if the Heat go out early, Riley will have a brinks truck waiting at your doorstep.

  4. blueintown - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    Love the fact that Phil just shacks up at his girlfriends house. Two years ago:

    Dr. Jerry Buss: “Phil, I really can’t pay you more than six million.”

    Phil Jackson: “I’m not leaving your daughters bedroom for less then twelve.”

    Dr. Buss: “……..yes, sir.”

  5. daniel10017 - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Tomtravis76: you are correct, the Heat will fire Spoelstra on Friday should they lose tomorrow. Phil holds the cards, Miami will call him.

  6. lastdukestreetking - Jun 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    No matter how much Riley wants to win, his ego is way too big to turn coaching duties over to Jackson even if he’s interested. Because then if the Heat do win a title all the credit would go to Jackson.

  7. fnc111 - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Some of you are crazy. Do you have memories at all? No way in H*** Riley would hire Phil as coach. Spoelstra will get fired and Riley will coach for one year then coach in waiting will end up being Brian Shaw.

  8. gmsalpha - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    It would certainly shake things up and be “exciting”. But it doesn’t change the fact that the Magic are a total mess. Jackson won’t suddenly improve their salary cap issues or their poor roster.

    Still, news like this is fun to read and contemplate. I absolutely would be shocked if he were to actually take the gig though.

  9. thomaskouns - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Orlando is the dumbest franchise in the NBA.

    Always looking for big names instead of building a solid team and front office.

    Like looking for a band aid for a gunshot wound.

  10. ezmagic - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    @thomask.. They’ve built teams before buddy…the mid 90s team starters were all draft picks shaq, penny, 3D, Anderson, except for Horace grant. with solid role players on the bench..

    The 2009 team had Nelson, Dwight, reddick, Lee as draft players with solid role players.

    Not like the heat who are trying to buy a title and it’s not working

    • thomaskouns - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:02 PM


      My POV reflects the desperate tactics they’ve used to keep Howard more than anything.

      Such as – giving a 26 year old the keys to the franchise and then seeking a part time/ not fully committed P Jackson to once again either keep Howard and or impress the fan base. That type of stunt never works in the long-run.

      And to your point, they haven’t been able to acquire a true star next to Howard since he’s been there. The guys you mentioned wouldn’t be known names except Howard has been so good he elevates their game and image.

  11. ch8878 - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    The greatest NBA mind of all time going to Orlando is awesome they better get this done you hear all these people say Howard wants to leave but Howard is always saying he wants to say how couldn’t he stay if Orlando brings in the greatest NBA mind ever.

    But if Howard does want to leave I can see Phil getting great composition for him how bout Howard to Dallas for Dirk and Gasol from LA and of course other players moving around I would go for that.

  12. alexb64 - Jun 6, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Sam Vincent must be really desperate for a job, if it turns out these “rumors” came solely from him he’ll probably have to be even more desperate next time.

  13. Charlie "Jumbo" Copeland - Jun 7, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Disaster in the making.

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