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Report: Phil Jackson to get first shot at Nets job… if he wants it

Dec 29, 2012, 7:31 PM EST

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson answers questions at a post-game news conference following Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoff against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas Reuters

Does Phil Jackson really want to coach the Brooklyn Nets?

I’m far from sold he does, but he’s going to get the first shot, reports Howard Beck at the New York Times.

The Nets have firmly targeted Phil Jackson — the man with the 11 championship rings, the Zen maxims and the geometric offense — to replace the recently fired Avery Johnson.

No deal is imminent, no formal discussions have taken place, and it is not even clear that Jackson wants the job. But the search will start with Jackson and only Jackson, according to multiple people monitoring the process.

Jackson’s agent said he was not interested at this time, but that’s what an agent should say at the start of the negotiation. There are other reports Jackson is intrigued by the job.

My guess is that Jackson is going to sit down and share some vodka with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. There will be flirting, but when it comes time to say yes or no, Jackson will look at that roster — which is going to be hard to change in any meaningful way for years — and walk away.

Then the discussions can maybe begin with Jeff Van Gundy, Kelvin Sampson, and guys like Nate McMillan and interim coach P.J. Carlisimo who should get a look.

But maybe if the vodka is good enough, and the check is large enough, and if he gets enough power in the organization, Jackson can be tempted to take the job. Nothing is impossible. Just unlikely.

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