Dec 28, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT
Thursday there came a direct statement from Phil Jackson’s agent that the legendary 11-time champion coach was not interested in the Brooklyn Nets coaching job in he wake of Avery Johnson’s firing.
But an agent’s job is to negotiate, so you take that with a grain of salt. You can’t really negotiate without leverage and you don’t have much leverage if you really want the job.
Now comes the report that the Nets job does hold some interest for Jackson, via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Phil Jackson, the 11-time champion coach, would be interested in exploring the possibility of coaching the Brooklyn franchise “for sure,” a person with knowledge of his thinking told CBSSports.com Thursday night….
Jackson, 67, is one of several candidates in play for the Nets, sources say, but given owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s affinity for big names and the added benefit that would come from hiring an ex-Knick, an eventual conversation between Jackson and the Nets would seem to be a formality. Coaching in New York is “a situation that would intrigue him,” the person familiar with Jackson’s thinking said. “He has a lot of history with that place.”
I have no doubt that Prokhorov and the Nets will call and talk to Jackson. I have no doubt he will offer a ridiculously large check to Jackson. And certainly Jackson has an affinity with New York, although it stems from his time as a player with that other franchise in town.
But I seriously doubt this happens.
For one, Jackson isn’t going to want just a large check — he’s going to want power. As in Billy King would be a puppet GM power. As in this is fully and totally his show power.
Second, and most importantly, Jackson is going to look at the roster as it is and realize this is regularly going to be a three to seven seed in the East. This team simply is not as good as the Nets hyped — and the owner seems to believe that hype. The Nets are not a bad team, but they are not contenders.
And reshaping this roster would be hard because of the contracts — the Nets have more than $70 million committed on the books for the three seasons AFTER this one. Joe Johnson’s massive contract, Brook Lopez’s max deal, even the Kris Humphries deal are not contracts that can be easily traded, and not for real quality in return.
Jackson is going to look at that roster, remember how much he was tired of the travel, long hours and grind of being an NBA coach, and he’s going to say no and walk away. He may flirt with the Nets, but I doubt it goes any farther than that.