--Phil Jackson reportedly has bowed out of an opportunity to join the Orlando Magic in a front office position.
Sam Vincent, who played for the Magic as well as Jackson, presented a scenario that appealed to Magic CEO Alex Martins, the Orlando Sentinel reported June 1.
However, before Martins could discuss the proposal with Magic owner Rich DeVos, Jackson withdrew from consideration May 31.
"It drew some interest from Phil," Vincent said. "But in the end, Phil decided to go with another opportunity."
Martins commented to the Sentinel in an email.
"Not because of this specific situation, but because I have been consistent during the search that I won't comment on specific candidates," Martins said in an e-mail. "I stand by my statement that we will put a premium on searching for Championship experience in the positions within in our search."
Jackson has won 11 NBA titles as a coach, six with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Vincent said Jackson, 66, wants back in the NBA but prefers not to coach. The Magic opportunity would have put him in a team president/general manager position, Vincent said.
The Magic fired general manager Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy last Monday. It was part of a tumultuous season that included a trade demand by center Dwight Howard and friction between the team's star and the front office.
Since Smith became general manager in 2006, the Magic had the greatest run of success in franchise history and reached the NBA Finals for the second time in their history. In 2010, Smith was given the additional title of president of basketball operations.
Van Gundy, 51, served as coach for five years and compiled a 259-135 regular-season record. His teams made the playoffs five times and won three division titles and one Eastern Conference championship.
The new GM will have the opportunity to hire the next coach, Martins said.
--Coming to the defense of former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who was fired shortly after the season, was brother Jeff, a coach turned television analyst. Jeff Van Gundy, after hearing his brother's take on the situation, went off on Magic CEO Alex Martins, who did the firing. Martins fired Stan mainly because of his inability to placate star center Dwight Howard. "Listen, all you have done in your 25 years in the business is release press releases, and run the business side. You don't know if a ball is blown up or stuffed," Jeff said during a radio interview with ESPN in talking about Martins. "He doesn't know one thing about basketball, so please hold off your comments on my brother's expertise since you know nothing about basketball." Jeff, obviously, didn't listen to Martins in the press conference when he made it clear that Stan was being fired for things unrelated to X's and O's.
--Maybe the most hyped non-story in the NBA this post season was the notion of Shaquille O'Neal possibly becoming the next Magic general manager. Team officials actually laughed at the erroneous report by ESPN that O'Neal was going to interview for the job. O'Neal fed the rumor initially, then issued a statement saying he was not interested in the job because the Magic never had any interest in him. The Magic have been talking with people like former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard, Spurs vice president Dennis Lindsey and Thunder vice president Troy Weaver.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Me and Stan, we had our ups and downs, but for the most part we had one goal, to win a championship in Orlando." -- C Dwight Howard, insisting he was not behind the firing of Stan Van Gundy.
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