Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson has been looking for the right opportunity over the past couple of months to get back into the NBA. He claims he doesn't want to coach anymore, but he wants to get into a front office role that helps shape the franchise. There were rumors of Jackson possibly taking the Toronto Raptors job but they eventually hired Masai Ujiri.
He would have taken the job with the Sacramento Kings had the sale to the Hansen-Ballmer group been approved and the team relocated to Seattle, but that fell through on the Seattle end. Instead, he's unofficially a consultant with the Los Angeles Lakers right now, according to Jeanie Buss. From the Daily News Los Angeles:
"My message to Lakers fans is Phil is a part of the organization because of me," said Buss, who's the Lakers' executive vice president of business operations and serves as the team's governor. "He's part of my life and part of my family. He's always in Laker world, no matter if he has an official position or not."
Would Buss want Jackson to have an official position with the team?
"I think we're in good hands with our front office," said Buss, referring to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and her brother, Jim, the team's vice president of basketball operations. "Jim and Mitch know Phil is a phone call away. He's always available. He would always do anything to help, support or listen. It's like we're all family."
I guess when you're one of the most accomplished coaches in NBA history and engaged to the executive vice president of the business operations of the Los Angeles Lakers, you have the kind of freedom in your work life to where you can be an unofficial consultant to the team that used to employ you. There were many fans and reporters who thought Jackson would return to the sidelines to coach the Lakers last season when Mike Brown was fired just five games into the season. In fact, there were reports he was very close to being offered the job when they decided to go with Mike D'Antoni.
But that hasn't soured things between Jackson and the Lakers too much. He's still in contact with GM Mitch Kupchak, even as recently as within the past couple of weeks.
Kupchak confirmed Jackson 's revelation that they talked "in the past couple of weeks" about unspecified issues concerning the Lakers.
"I'm not sure why somebody like Phil isn't working for an NBA club right now," Kupchak said. "He has so much to offer to any franchise. Even though he doesn't have an official role with us, he's a consultant of sorts."
Moving forward, Jackson is still looking to take a front office job and help run a team in the same vision he had coaching a team a few decades ago. He'll just be instructing things from an office instead of a cushy chair on the sidelines.